A Quick and Easy Raspberry Pie Recipe for You!

As much as I would like to bake EVERY weekend, I don’t think my body would agree with such an aggressive ‘pace’, so I have relegated myself to bake bi-weekly at the minimum. Besides keeping a little extra off my mid-section I have found that I am have become even MORE excited to bake when the time has finally come! Which is probably why I was overly excited about tackling my very first Raspberry Pie recipe!

raspberry-pie-recipe2Like I told my daughter, my pie making road map was to start with fruit and berry pies, of which I have already baked several, so finding a relatively simple raspberry pie recipe was top priority for me this weekend.

The raspberry pie recipe I ended up coming across was as simple as simple comes. As has become my custom (and preference) I opted for frozen fruit rather than out of the produce section, and made my own crust as I have taken a real liking for the flaky buttery flavor – so much so, that store bough crust, frozen or otherwise just don’t do much for me any longer.

CRUST…

The flaky crust has by now become second nature for me so whipping this together beforehand was nothing ‘but a thing!’ And what’s funny is that I now somewhat enjoy making the crust, mixing cool ingredients and mixing and mashing and rolling together what I know will be something fantastically tasteful.

FILLING…

The recipe called for 6 cups of raspberries, so I grabbed four, small bags of the frozen fruit the night before and let them thaw pretty much all the way.

Next, I measured out 6 cups, and since I had about a cup extra I just added those to the fix and upped the amount of sugar a tad because of it. The sugar and cornstarch had been mixed a little bit beforehand, so I poured this over my bowl of raspberries and gently mixed it all up. I then let this sit while I rolled out my dough, which had been chilling in the refrigerator.

BAKING TIME…

Once the dough was laid out, raspberries gently poured in, and the top crust thrown over top (you may note that the original recipe called for a lattice top which I chose not to do), I took a brush and slapped on an egg wash, sprinkled a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a tsp. of raw sugar, then placed the pie in the pre-heated oven and set the timer for 65min. Recipe called for 60-75min so I figured 65min was a good mid-point.

By the time the time went off, the edges of the crust were browning but the center was not. It had started to crisp up some, but it didn’t have the browning I expected so I left the pie in for another 10min, covering the edges with foil.

I let the pie cool over night before even attempting to taste, despite the urge to dig in during the dark of night, as the aroma was intoxicating throughout the house.

RESULT…

raspberry-pie-recipeUnlike some of the other recipes I have baked, where the second time around was the charm, after devouring a small slice of the raspberry pie, I was confident that I had hit this one out of the park on the first try.

The crust tasted extraordinarily good with the raspberry filling, much more so than any of my other pie projects. The 6 Tbsp of cornstarch seemed adequate as the pie was juicy but no runny, and the increasing the sugar from the 1/2 cup to a full cup (since I added more raspberries), was a spot on.

The recipe by Amber at Dessert Now Dinner Later, was SCARY simple and quick to do, and definitely something you could whip up almost at a moment’s notice. Have a try at it and come back to let me know how it went!

RASPBERRY PIE RECIPE…

Ingredients

  • 1 Flaky Buttered Pie Crust
  • 6 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup sugar (add more if the berries are especially tart)
  • 6 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg, whisked, for brushing
  • Extra sugar or sugar crystals, for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Prepare Perfect Pie Crust and divide dough in half. Roll out one half and fit it inside the pie dish, cutting off the excess crust.
  2. Gently toss the raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Empty the raspberries into the pie crust shell.
  3. Roll out the other half of the pie crust and cut 1-inch strips. Weave the strips into a lattice crust.
  4. Wet edge of bottom crust and press lattice strips into the edge of the bottom crust firmly. Cut off excess crust. Check out my Lattice Tutorial for step-by-step photo instructions on how to make a lattice top. Optionally, use extra crust to braid an edge for the crust. Attach with a little water, and press firmly to the edge of the bottom crust. (The steps for the braid are also in this tutorial.)
  5. Lightly brush the crust with a whisked egg and sprinkle the top with sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 to 75 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling in the center; cover with foil if crust gets brown before filling bubbles. Allow pie to cool for the filling to gel.

Notes
*Place a baking sheet on the rack below the pie to catch any drippings.

And lastly, a HUGE Thank you to Amber at Dessert Now Dinner Later for such a wonderful pie recipe!

Merry Christmas! Will You Be as Busy as Me in the Kitchen This Weekend?

Merry Christmas everyone. Another Christmas is in the books and by now, everyone has opened gifts, eaten a hearty breakfast and are either comatose in deep sleep, out enjoying the day or busily engaged with their gifts. So, What did everyone get? Me? Well, since baking has become my second life, it was a ‘baking-esque’ type Christmas!

Gifts from the Wife…

pie schoolThe wife came pretty strong with a number of items that will no doubt only fuel my pie addictions. First item – Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter! A book that I had already had on my radar, having bookmarked it on my Amazon.com wishlist some time ago. So glad I hadn’t already purchased this, although I more than likely would of kept both copies had I did, keeping one in the kitchen and one on my person!

Besides the standard compliment of fruity and very delicious looking pies, all fruit and dessert dishes, the book features a very cool ‘The Art and Science of Pies’ chapter which for me was one of the main draws of this book. With topics such as How to choose your best tools; how to make a Galette; how to be fruitful; how to be a pie roller; how to weave a classic lattice and several others, this book will undoubtedly help me understand some of the more intricate yet foundational skills necessary to become the pie connoisseur I one day hope to be!

mini piesThe other book my wife gave to me had a little more background to it, that I will reluctantly share with you now. I like to bake AND eat pie. Problem is, besides my Blackberry and Apple Pie dish, any other pie I have made and baked, I have eaten (OVER TIME and not in one sitting…) on my own, because no one else in the family had liked those particular dishes. This has had the ‘expected’ result at adding a few pounds to the midsection, despite working out on a regular basis. So this next pie book – The Magic of Mini Pies: Sweet and Savory Miniature Pies and Tarts, was not only to help bolster my skill and knowledge in making mini pies, but also a ‘message’ that I cut back on trying to devour entire 9-inch pie dishes on my own. Point taken wifey!

Mini pies may suit me better and not just to help me watch my weight, but also to allow me to better be able to TEST out new recipes without committing so much in time, ingredients and waistline! Along with that, The Magic of Mini Pies also has recipes for savory pies like chicken pot pies, cornish pastries, spinach mushroom quiches and more. ALL definitely on my baking road-map in the very near future!

Lastly, to go along with my ‘The Magic of Mini Pies’ book I also got a set of mini pie dishes all ready and primed for this weekend’s baking extravaganza – as well as a pie server and dry measuring cup.
mini-pie-dishes

What did Mom Get Me?

Mom is also a heavy supporter of my cooking ventures and bestowed upon me the complete DVD set to Top Chef University. Eight DVDs taking me through a crash course apparently in becoming as great a Chef as I can be in the home kitchen. I sooooooooo look forward to digging through these…hungrily!!

I see a busy weekend ahead in the kitchen and I can’t wait. How about you? What surprises were nestled beneath your tree this wintry morning?

A Lattice Peach Pie Recipe on a Chilly December Day

The week seemed to of blown through quickly with Boise experiencing some of he weirdest weather to date, especially moving into the second week of December. Some days were cool and brisk, as one might expect while others were balmy and warm by our standards, hovering in the low sixties at the crack of dawn. With the weekend fast approaching, and not having tried my hand at any new pie dishes, I anxiously heralded warm deliciousness that was calling my name!

I had psyching myself up for a blueberry or blueberry cream pie or even something with cranberry in it, like an apple-cranberry or cranberry pear pie for quite some time, but something else nudge its way to the front of the list. Something I had longed for but being out of season, I had been forced to settle for at another time. Peach pie!

Peach Pie Recipe

My ideal peach pie has always involved using fresh peaches… not so much from the grocery store or even from the local Farmers Market but straight from the tree, picked by my own hand. I like drama, what can I say! However, given my recent experiences at using frozen organic blackberries, I was ‘sold’ on the juicy ‘AFFORDABLE’ freshness of frozen fruit – so peach pie it was.

Like most first attempts, I have always opted for recipes that were relatively simple and straight forward, so ‘sticking to my guns’, I decided I’d tackle the Peach Pie Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod.

Funny thing is, all week I had been looking at lattice pie crust arrangements and just to spruce things up, I thought I’d ‘knock two birds out with one stone’ and not only make my first peach pie recipe but my first lattice pie crust as well!

I quickly whipped out my favorite Flaky butter pie crust recipe (I’ve really become quite adept at putting this recipe together now – It’s become almost second nature), and had two tightly wrapped discs of pie dough chilling in the fridge in record time.

Next I prepped my peach filling. I had purchased three bags of the frozen peaches, which I had thawed earlier. The recipe called for 8 cups of peaches and the three bags I had amounted to about 7 cups worth, which proved to be adequate.

peaches

The peach pie filling called for many of the usuals, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and a few dabs of vanilla. What caught my eye on this peach pie recipe as opposed to others was the use of corn starch in the mix rather than flour. I had become a quick believer in the use of corn starch over flour when I baked and tried a number of blackberry pie dishes. I stirred up the mixture and then made preparation to get my dough at the ready!

For the lattice pie crust I used the diagram and instructions I found here on Gimme Some Oven

lattice pie crust

I rolled out the bottom crust, poured in my peach filling and followed the instructions listed on the Gimme Some Oven website. I ended up cutting my strips of dough a bit thicker in width than I should of have and so didn’t have as many strips to layout as the recipe called for, but it didn’t turn out too bad for my first attempt.

With the lattice arrangement set out as best I could, in the oven the pie went.

Results

peach pie recipe

I didn’t egg wash the crust so I didn’t get the golden brown I would’ve liked for a great image, but that didn’t take away from the consistently great taste I have always gotten from the flaky buttered crust.

The Peaches had great flavor every time I bit into them, though I felt the filling could’ve been just a bit more on the sweet side of things. I may add another half cup of sugar next time around. The juice wasn’t abundant, but a tad more corn starch might help in thickening it up some, but it was still delish!

A great and simple recipe, quick and flavorful, will definitely put this in the recipe book and on the burner for another go-around!

A Simple and Quick Blackberry Pie Recipe

The moment of truth was upon me! Weeks and weeks of learning, testing, and baking were about to be put to the ultimate test. Long lost friends were in town and an early Thanksgiving dinner was on the schedule. For dessert? An assortment of decadent sweets from Pumpkin pie, to cupcakes to Pumpkin Cheesecake, and one BLACKBERRY PIE RECIPE made by yours truly!

It would be the first time that my pie creation would be tasted by someone outside of my ‘inner circle’ of taste tasters (that being my kids). I had been excitedly boasting of my increasing prowess at baking this pie and that for weeks, and now I was being ‘called out’ to produce to a hungry and captive audience. The pressure was on and the challenge was accepted!

The Chosen Blackberry Pie Recipe

I had previously tackled a blackberry pie recipe I found on AllRecipes.com that had turned out ‘okay’ but was nothing to gawk at. The taste was great, but I didn’t care much for a flour-sugared mix the recipe had called for. So I scoured my trusted online source (Pinterest) for other great blackberry pie recipe ideas and ended up settling my taste buds on a relatively simple-looking recipe by Karen at The Food Charlatan.

What caught my eye right off the bat was that Karen’s process of putting together the blackberry pie filling was very similar to the process I used to put together my cherry pie recipe, so this was very familiar ground for me – both from a taste and process perspective.

The process was simple and quick. I had already prepared shortcrust pastry hours before, so what was left was the prepare the blackberry filling.

Instead of the 7 cups of blackberries I opted for an extra cup to make it an even 8, and the blackberries I used were organic. Other than this minor change, I followed the recipe to the letter! See below:

Source – The Food Charlatan

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan and set aside. In a food processor or blender, blend about 2 cups of blackberries. You want to end up with 1 and 3/4 cup liquid; if you don’t have enough berries you can add up to a 1/4 cup of water. You could also use a masher to do this.

Add the liquified berries to the sugar mixture. Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it has reached a boil, turn the heat to low and stir until thick. (This won’t take more than a minute or two.) Add 5 cups of fresh blackberries. Stir just until berries are well-coated, then remove from heat.

Blackberry Pie recipe
 
 

Line a deep 9-inch pie plate with pastry; leave about 1 inch of dough hanging over the edge. Add berries until it’s just rounded up in the middle. Lay on the top crust, making sure it’s also about an inch wider than the pie on top. Turn both pieces of dough – together – under, and tuck into the pie plate so that the juice won’t run out, leaving some of the dough high enough to crimp. Using your thumbs and first fingers, squish the dough together around the top; make your fingers and thumbs kiss each other as you move around the plate. Cut slits in the top to let the steam escape. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar lightly all over the top.

If your pie is very full, it is a good idea to put a baking sheet underneath to avoid spills. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. About halfway through baking time, check the edges of your crust. They will most likely be golden while the center is uncooked. If this is the case, cover the edges. Cut a square of aluminum foil, fold it into quarters, and cut a circle out of the middle. You should come up with a square that has a giant circle cut out. Unfold and cover the crust of your pie, then continue baking. You will know the pie is done when the middle of the pie is golden.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for at least another 10-15 minutes before removing. Wait several hours before attempting to cut into the pie. It needs to be completely cooled, otherwise you will get a concoction I like to call Black-bloody Pie.

The Result?

The blackberry pie was a resounding success at the ‘early’ Thanksgiving dinner get together. The pie was an instant hit, with nothing but a handful of blackberries and juice in an otherwise empty pie dish.

Although I didn’t have a piece of the pie this night, I had previously ‘baked’ this same recipe a couple days before to make sure it was indeed the one I wanted to use. So I had my ‘own’ blackberry pie waiting for me at home. This worked out great since all I wanted to do this evening was to watch and observe the wanton devouring of this juicy delight! All in all a wonderful evening, with friends, family and good food!

Lastly, I’d like to thank Karen at The Food Charlatan for a wonderful recipe (her mother’s recipe in fact), that will put smiles on many faces for years to come in this neck of the woods!

How My AllRecipes Blackberry Pie Turned Out…

Right on the heels of my cherry pie over the weekend, I was anxious to try a relatively simple Blackberry Pie recipe I came across on AllRecipes.com by Michelle Verdiere. I eat a lot of apple pie but blackberry is my favorite and I’ve been itching at finding the perfect blackberry pie recipe for me. So how did this one turn out?

Ingredients

100_2762
As I said, the ingredients to this dish are straightforward and relatively meager:

  • 4 cups fresh blackberries (I used frozen blackberries from the local grocer)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I made my own – Buttery, flaky pie crust)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I substituted for an egg wash)

Short and sweet. perfect for my first attempt at my first Blackberry Pie.

Let’s Talk About The Process…

I went and grabbed a few bags of frozen blackberries (image above) at the local grocery store instead of the fresh ones. I had been wanting to try using frozen fruit (especially since I’d like to bake a peach pie soon and have no patience to wait for Summer for fresh peaches). Plus I had read somewhere that frozen fruit could be just as good, if not BETTER than fresh fruit, so frozen fruit it was. I need 4 cups of blackberries and wasn’t for sure how many bags I needed so I got four bags. Turns out 2 bags of this particular brand, covered my 4 cups so I had frozen blackberries for another day! SCORE!

I’d become pretty adept at whipping together Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust so I hurried along and got that put together and in the fridge to set.

Next, I followed the recipe to the letter – Here is the video to the AllRecipes.com Blackberry Pie

blackberry pie

Please note, that instead of washing the crust with milk, I used an egg wash. Why? Again, I saw this as another opportunity to try using and egg wash, which I had never done before. It turned out to be a life changing gamble and one that I will probably continue to use from here on out!

blackberry pie

I baked the pie as specified – 15 min at 425 degrees, then bring it down to 375 20-25 min (I opted for 25).

I could smell the pie bubbling up that blackberry aroma from every room in the house. It was marvelous!

When the timer went off, I promptly removed the lightly-browned blackberry pie from the over and set it on the cooling rack for devouring…er..sampling later.

blackberry pie

Results?

Not bad for my first attempt but I could definitely do better. No, strike that! I definitely WILL do better next time around, but don’t get me wrong, this pie has some serious promise!

blackberry pie

The egg wash on the crust was a brilliant move, and like I said, an addition I will make to every pie recipe I make from here on out (if it makes sense, of course). The egg wash helped ‘flake’ up the crust even more than it had before and it was so freakin’ delicious, don’t even get me started.

The pie was very juicy when I first cut into it, not that I’m complaining. It was a little on the ‘cloudy’ side, most likely from the flour in the mixture, so not sure if that’s normal or not. The blackberries were soft, juicy and tart, which when mixed with the sweetened juice created a wonderful taste.

The crust on the bottom (which I had egg washed as well per the video…), was also very good, although it was softer than usual which meant I could of baked it a little longer. The top crust edges were well-browned but the middle of the pie was lighter. Again, I could of probably baked it for a little longer. Ten minutes more maybe? I will try this the next time around. Not sure why it was that soft, though my first guess was that maybe I had it ‘thicker’ than what was in the original recipe?

The AllRecipes.com Blackberry Pie recipe was delicious. Again, there are a couple things I will change when I do it again, but this is definitely a recipe I will continue to fall back on in the future. Two big thumbs up for me!

A Simple Pie Crust Recipe for You to Start Out With

We were buried! At least under a foot of heavy, fresh-fallen snow. Boise’s first heavy snow of the Winter (isn’t it still technically Fall?) had come, and in dramatic fashion.

walkway

Highways were shutdown, schools were closed, and kids were ecstatic. The temperatures outside were an ear nipping 15 degrees, and I had no desire to brave Winter’s fury today. What better day to bake I thought! But what, was the question!

What to Make. What to Bake

I’d been chomping at the bit, eager to start making my own pie crust for weeks now, ever since Betty Crocker hung me out to dry, and today was looking better and better as a day for experimentation.

I had been gathering up pie crust recipes from around the Web and more specifically, Pinterest, over the last several weeks, so I already had a ready supply of ideas from which to start from. The choices and flavors were many, but as ‘venturesome’ as I felt this day, I still wanted to start out slow and steady with a recipe relatively simple even for me. Chance behold, I knew exactly the one I wanted to start with!

Lo and behold, Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust!

Nothing revolutionary by any stretch but Annalise’s recipe was simple, full of buttery flavor and quick to put together. Perfect for my first attempt at making homemade pie crust.

Pie Crust Ingredients and Process

Not being the venturesome sort, I stuck to Annalise’s recipe to a ‘T’, not deviating or trying to get cure and creative one bit. This was both a fun project but an educational one as well and I loved every bit of it. My 9yr old daughter also took great interest, engaging with the process at every turn…

‘It doesn’t look like dough, Dad?’

‘It looks like a lot of flour and nothing else Dad?’

dough1

‘Shouldn’t it be coming together in a clump like dough is supposed to Dad?’

pie-prep

‘Oh, wait, its starting to come together Dad!’

pie-baking02

‘Wow, it looks like pie crust dough you got at the store Dad?’

I made two iterations of Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust, as the recipe had an ‘optional’ sugar component in it that I tried once, but didn’t care for it, so I made the pie crust again without it and loved it.

Once complete, I wrapped up the dough and stuffed it in the fridge for a couple hours.
cherry-pie02

Since the ‘objective’ of today’s pie baking adventure was more about the ‘pie crust’ than anything else, I figured I’d just make my standard apple pie, since I knew that recipe and process literally by heart. But, since I’d only baked my mom’s cherry pie once, and the fact that the Oregon red tart cherries were on sale at the local grocer (which was unusual but highly welcomed), I decided I’d kill two birds with one stone (sorry for the pun…) and make this a worthwhile experiment.

I took my dough out of the fridge and let it sit for about 20 min to soften a bit while I prepped my cherries – which involved thickening the juice a bit with a mix of sugar and starch and heating the mixture of cherries and juice with some nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.

Once the dough was rolled out, the cherry mixture was poured in and the top of the pie crust gently set on top.

cherry-pie

All set and ready to roll, I threw it in the oven for a sizzling quick 45 min.

pie-baking

Results?

cherry-pie2
Absolutely delish! The pie crust was fantastic. The flavor was good, with a hint of butter as was the consistency and the cherries, both tart and smothered in a sweetened juice. I was extremely please with the results. I didn’t glaze the top of the crust with egg wash as mentioned in the recipe, though I plan to do that in the next pie baking run.

Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust was a great success in more ways than one. It was the perfect pie crust for me to ‘get my feet wet’ and help me build the confidence and belief in myself that I was capable of putting together my own pie crust mix. And, although her pie crust will be a springboard to more ambitious pie crust projects, this recipe was so easy that it will more than likely become the ‘standard’ pie crust for the majority of my projects!

Thanks Annalise!

cherry pie

Fundamentals: How To Correctly Crack Eggs

Seems simple enough right? We’ve all cracked eggs at some point in our lives while preparing a meal, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The thing is, like everything else there is a right and wrong way to do something. Or maybe more accurately, a more ‘efficient’ way to do things. In this instance, here is the more efficient way to crack eggs when preparing that next great dish!

Daniel Gritzer over at Serious Eats describes in great detail his time spent with legendary chef André Soltner making of all things, omelets. See Daniel’s creative way of depicting step by step how we should be properly cracking eggs!

See the article here – How to Crack Eggs Like a Badass

A List of Pies You Need to Have on Your Thanksgiving Table

Just the other day, while browsing through a plethora of fantastic looking images of pies on Pinterest, I came across a peach cobbler to die for. Then I went and did the foolish thing of running to the local grocer to pick up a handful of peaches so that I could run home to try my hand at the recipe. Doh! No peaches here in late October. Fall is upon us and Thanksgiving is a hop, skip and a jump away, so what pie or pies are you planning on baking for the holiday?

11 Pies You Need on Your Thanksgiving Table This Year

Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy published an article yesterday on CHOW titled – 11 Pies You Need on Your Thanksgiving Table This Year, which is what got me thinking ahead for Thanksgiving. Normally, I’d be counting down the days for my mother to visit and bake up her coveted apple pie delight! But not so this Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving, any pie baking would be done by yours truly, and I welcome the challenge.

So what to bake is the question? I have long practiced at perfecting my mother’s apple pie over the preceding months that I am most comfortable baking that, but like any baker, I am also eager to dive into more varied and complex pie dishes. A multi-fruit pie? Something more creamy? Maybe a chocolate pie? How about a lattice crust? Oh the ideas and challenges are endless!

Caitlin does call out some recognizable favorites that automatically get front row seating on my list of ideas – Apple pie, pumpkin pie and a long-time family favorite sweet potato pie! But the Pear Rosemary Pie with Cheddar Crust is a veritable unknown to my palette as is the Cranberry pie and both look stunning and delicious!

Which Pie(s) Do you Plan to bake for Thanksgiving?

Decisions, decisions, and decisions…..

If you had to pick two pies to make, and not pies on the ‘usual’ list but something new and potentially challenging, which two would you tackle and why!

I Pledge To Make and Bake All Pie From This Day Forward

Since starting this blog I have made a lot of pledges to myself, from learning how to bake this and how to bake that, but one of the more tougher of my pledges has been that from hence forth, I vow to NOT buy any more pie from the grocery store! But first, let me elaborate further…

THEN…

In the past, when I had a craving for pie [which for me, was like every week], I would either run to my local Marie Callendar’s restaurant and pick up a pre-made berry pie OR to my local Albertson’s Grocery store to pick up either a frozen berry or blackberry deep dish pie or, and they just recently started doing this, a ‘half pie’ in the bakery section. Quick and easy, I would have my pie and the ‘pie fix’ would be, well….fixed!

No more! I will not purchase anymore store-bought pies.

If I am to become the PIE BAKER I yearn to be, I must dedicate myself to learning and mastering this art. Having quick and unfettered access to ready made pie does not help me.

NOW…

If I want pie, I MUST make it and bake it myself! However, there is one small caveat I will make to this pledge:

  • I WILL NOT purchase pie from the store.
  • I WILL MAKE AND BAKE all my pies myself.
  • I will ONLY purchase pie at a bakery or restaurant if the purpose of the purchase is to taste and sample pie for review on PIEADDICT.com.

Have you made similar pledges? Or for that matter, any pledges since undertaking your baking adventures? I find that setting goals and objectives like this help to motivate and keep me on track despite the difficulty I see ahead trying to walk [or more like RUN] past the bakery section at the store. But if I am to truly become the pie baker I very much would like to be sacrifices must be made right? 🙂

What Did You Go and Do That For Betty Crocker?

Betty Crocker pie crust has been a stable, tasty, fixture in my family kitchen since before I could remember. What I can recall however, is always seeing the signature Betty Crocker pie crust box sitting tall on the kitchen counter, waiting, in powdery, delicious anticipation for its fellowship – Cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla to join in the upcoming pie adventure! Well, all that was blown away when I stumbled, accidentally, onto Betty Crocker’s BIG CHANGE!

PIE CRUST DREAMIN’

I’ve really just started on the path toward learning how to craft my own signature pie crust. Not only because I’d like to become a true pie making connoisseur, and not have to rely on store-bought pie crust, but because I’d really like to ‘OWN’ the pie I crafted, from the hot-bubbly filling and up through the flaky, buttery crust. So this latest ‘misstep’ from Betty Crocker might just be the writing on the wall for me.

BETTY CROCKER CHANGED THEIR CRUST

Betty Crocker pie crust 'original'
I had no intention of baking of pie today. Just a quick run up to the corner Albertson’s grocery store to retrieve something to drink for the house is all I had been tasked with. Funny how things always never seem to go as planned when you make that fateful turn into the ‘baking aisle.’

I don’t know what it is but I LOVE to browse down this aisle. Through the cake and brownie mix, flours, sugars and starches, seasonings, kitchen pans, dishes and utensils and past the pie crust…..wait. Up on the top shelf, where my lifelong familiar once stood, was a new Betty Crocker pie crust mix.

The box had a more modern look and feel to it, a little more trendier with a sharp looking photograph emblazoned across it. I re-confirmed that I was indeed still looking at a Betty Crocker product, and that this had indeed ‘replaced’ the old-school, packaged pie crust I had been accustomed to for so many years. This was the NEW Betty Crocker look, and according to the packaging, they had retained the ‘original’ pie crust recipe and merely just updated the branding. Hmm….

Curiosity got the better of me, as I tossed a box into my shopping cart and spirited myself away toward the produce section. Me and Granny Smith needed to talk!

SOMETHING WAS AMISS…

Disaster!! What has Betty Crocker done?! This was NOT the pie crust I had grown up with. In fact, it wasn’t even close. I should’ve known this fact, when I glanced at the instructions on the box and noticed an ever so slight ‘change’ in the process of mixing this crust. Nothing extravagant, but a slight variation in the amount of water I was to add to the mixture.

After rolling out the dough, it seemed ‘stickier’ than normal. A pinch of flour sprinkled across it, seemed to do the trick, but then once flattened and ready to roll-up, it began to fragment. I quickly ‘balled’ it back up and rolled it out again. Same result. I made do, and got the dough situated in my 9″ dish. In went the sliced Granny Smith’s, sugar, cinnammon, butter, vanilla and nutmeg. On to the next ball of dough, whcih after being flattened had the same disastrous results. WHAT THE HELL?!

Again, I ‘managed’ to cover the pie adequately, though not ‘pretty’ by any stretch. In fact it was down right horrible [hence, no photos], and I almost wanted to scrap the whole thing right then and there.

There were some leftover scraps of dough on the counter mat, which I tasted. [Side note – ever since I was a kid, my mother used to set aside a small bunch of pie crust dough, leftover after she had shaped the edges of the crust, for me. Don’t ask me why I liked the taste of it, but I did, and to this day, I often sample the raw dough just after finishing the pie. Anyways…]

It did NOT taste like the Betty Crocker pie crust my taste buds had grown so accustomed to over the years. And I should know! This immediately concerned me, since the finished pie was now baking away. Too late to scrap [my pie addiction now seizing control of my faculties…] I thought. Let’s play this out and see what happens.

THE RESULTS

The pie was done. It’s wonderful, warming aroma filling the kitchen and adjoining rooms of the house with sweet, vanilla/cinnamon/Granny Smith deliciousness! Hmm…maybe this whole ‘something is wrong’ feeling was just me striving for perfection as I always try to do when baking pie and THINKING Betty Crocker had pulled a fast one?

But when scooped out a warm slice, my suspicions rang true. The pie crust WAS different. Flakier but also with a different taste, Betty Crocker in one fell swoop took me to a new low. A pie crust mix that really started me on this ‘addiction’ had changed, and not for the better. Maybe that’s too harsh? Maybe the new pie crust mix tasted great but my childhood love and admiration for the ‘original’ mix wouldn’t let me ‘accept’ anything that could possibly taste better?

Regardless, the Betty Crocker pie crust I had grown to know and love was gone [replaced by this IMPOSTER!!! just kidding…], and now I faced the hard decision of learning to accept the new Betty Crocker, or finally make that move toward seriously learning to craft my own signature pie crust.

Curious…
How many of you, make your own crust or have a favorite store-bought pie crust you use?

Essentials: Apple Pro Peeler

I’m not going to lie, I’ve always had a rather ‘lazy’ side to me [who doesn’t at times right?], but rather than shun and hide this minor ‘blemish’ in my character, I’ve learned to embrace it and use to my advantage. How? By using this laziness to help me find more efficient and quicker ways at accomplishing tasks – specifically, peeling apples in preparation of baking a delicious apple pie.

I had long peeled apples by hand, like most of you, and had done it so many times that it had almost become second nature. I could peel in my sleep. But being one for change and a technology geek since birth, you could imagine my glee when a package showed up on my doorstep from my loving mother in Texas, that contained non-other than a Starfrit Apple Pro-Peeler!

Apple Pro Peeler
Easy to set-up right out of the box [which I love], I had the Apple Pro Peeler out, and on the counter ready to go to work.

After having rinsed off my bowl of deep green and delicious Granny Smith’s, one by one, I gently pressed each apple, on to the steel prongs that held the apple upright. Then, rotating a small handle, I turned slowly, raising the peeling blade up against the apple and around. The apple skin peeled away effortlessly and quick, leaving a long tail of skin curled up at the base of the Apple Pro Peeler. One apple done in mere seconds, I lifted it from the prongs and situated another.

Apple Pro Peeler
Simple. Quick. Efficient. It was almost scary how fast I could churn through 6 Granny Smith’s, my thoughts already wandering to how many pies I could whip out with such at device at my command!

Fresh or Frozen Fruit. Which is Better?

When out picking up supplies and ingredients for your next pie baking venture, which do you prefer? Fresh or frozen fruit? Is one better than the other? Do you have a preference? Which one has worked better for you in the past? Here are some facts that may or may not sway you one way or the other.

I know in discussing recipes with my mother, that she often tells me she uses frozen fruit for many of her dishes. I had never used frozen fruit, always believing that picking my fruits from the grocery produce shelves was always the ‘fresher’ choice. Plus the fact that I love walking through the grocery aisles, looking at and taking in the fine aromas of all those wonderful and colorful fruits of all shapes and sizes. Mom used to tell me that the frozen ones were better. I balked, and stood my ground. Nonsense! Items in the freezer lose their flavor and are bland I stammered! Little did I realize…

FROZEN

Pros – Frozen fruits and veggies are even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets, according to Gene Lester, Ph.D., a plant physiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas. And why is this? Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient-packed.

While the first step of freezing vegetables—blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes—causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out, the subsequent flash-freeze locks the produce in a relatively nutrient-rich state. In effect ‘freezing’ any change or degradation.

Cons – On the downside, frozen fruits sometimes contain added sugar, which means they won’t be as healthy as their unadulterated, fresh counterparts.

FRESH

Pros – Freshly-picked fruits straight from the farm or even your own garden are of the highest quality and should be your first choice, even over frozen.

Cons – Fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to fresh-produce aisles around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Outward signs of ripening may still occur, but these fruits and vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine (as FREEZING allows). In addition, during the long haul from farm to fork, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which degrade some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.

Also note, that produce bought from the supermarket is full of color and crunch, with many stores even using fine mist sprays to give a ‘just picked’ look. This is referred to as ‘supermarket theater’ that helps convince shoppers to pay a premium for food they believe is not only better than frozen but tastier and full of flavor. The reality is however, that these fruits may well have been held in storage for weeks maybe, before even being situated in the grocer produce section.

SOME GOOD RULES OF THUMB

When fruits are in-season, buy them fresh and ripe, preferably straight from the farm (farmer’s market, perhaps) or pick from your own garden (or a neighbor’s backyard fruit tree…JUST KIDDING! Get permission first, of course)

Off-season? Frozen fruits will give you a higher concentration of nutrients and will most likely be even fresher and tastier than those you find on grocery shelves.

Choose packages marked with a USDA “U.S. Fancy” shield, which designates produce of the best size, shape and color

Bake and eat soon after purchase.

GOT ANYTHING TO ADD?


What has worked for you? Everyone has a preference or another ‘side’ to the fresh or frozen debate. Nothing is written in stone and I would love to hear what everyone else typically uses and why?

The Ultimate Pie Pilgrimage: Visiting 70+ Best Pie Makers in America

Anyone ever taken a Pie Pilgrimage? Much like a beer pub crawl, only that we venture onto the open road to visit and sample some of the best pies America has to offer.

I just returned from a family vacation several weeks ago, and although we did have the opportunity to eat a lot of great food, as we made our way up the California coast, I alas, was not able to partake in any pie. None whatsoever. So it dawned on me, why not make my next trip a pie pilgrimage? In fact, why not make it a yearly event, to make my way around the country sampling the best in American pie, as listed in many of the popular food and news publications online and off?

Please keep in mind – this is by no means a COMPLETE and FINAL list of the greatest pie makers in the country. The list was compiled primarily from previous lists published in various articles online and in mainstream food and travel magazines, as well as conversations with friends and family from many different parts of the country. However, if there is a ‘pie maker’ that you believe should be included on my ‘Pie Pilgrimage’ itinerary, please let me know the details in the comment section below – name and website address (if any). The more the better. I never tire of pie and I know there are so many fantastic and unique pie recipes out there!

The Ultimate List of the Best Places to Get Pie in the United States

Alabama

Pie Lab
Pie Lab [Greensboro AL]

California

Marcie's Pies
Marcie’s Pies and Goods [Santa Ynez CA]

Simple Things
SimpleThings [Los Angeles CA]

Cake Monkey
Cake Monkey [Burbank, CA.]

piehole
The Pie Hole [Los Angeles, CA.]

threebabes
Three Babes Bakeshop [San Francisco, CA.]

Mission Pie
Mission Pie [San Francisco, CA.]

Julian Pie Company
Julian Pie Company [Santa Ysabel, CA.]

Sweetie Pies
Sweetie Pies [Napa Valley, CA.]

Pie n Burgers
Pie ‘n Burgers [Pasadena, CA.]

Colorado

Humble Pie Store
Humble Pie Store [Denver, CO.]

Mermaid Bakery
Mermaid’s Bakery [Denver, CO]

Connecticut

Michele's Pies
Michele’s Pies [Westport CT]

District of Columbia

Whisked
Whisked [Washington, D.C.]

Blue Duck Tavern
Blue Duck Tavern [Washington D.C.]

Dangerously Delicious Pies
Dangerously Delicious Pies [Washington D.C.]

Open City
Open City [Washington D.C.]

Buzz Bakery
Buzz Bakery [Washington D.C.]

Pie Sisters
Pie Sisters [Washington D.C.]

Florida

Key Lime Shop
Key Lime Shop [Key West, FL]

Georgia

Yesterday Cafe
The Yesterday Cafe [Greensboro, GA.]

The Pie Shop
The Pie Shop [Atlanta, GA.]

Hawaii

The Right Slice
The Right Slice [Lihue, HI]

Illinois

Hoosier Mama Pie
Hoosier Mama Pie Company [Chicago, IL.]

Indiana

Pie Kitchen
Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen [New Albany IN]

Iowa

Kathy's Pies
Kathy’s Pies [Cedar Rapids IA]

Kansas

The Upper Crust
The Upper Crust Pie Bakery [Overland Park KS]

Bang Bang Pie
Bang Bang Pie [Chicago, IL.]

Louisana

Strawn's
Strawn’s Eat Shop [Shreveport, LA.]

Massachusetts

Petsi Pies
Petsi Pies [Somerville, MA.]

Michigan

Achatz
Achatz Homemade Pie Co. [Armada, MI]

Minnesota

Aroma Pie Shop
The Aroma Pie Shop [Whalen, MN.]

Mississippi

Sugarees
Sugarees Bakery [New Albany, MS]

Missouri

A Slice of Pie
A Slice of Pie [Rolla, MO.]

Montana

Loula's Cafe
Loula’s Cafe [Whitefish, MT]

New Hampshire

Lou's Restaurant
Lou’s Restaurant [Hanover NH]

New Mexico

Pie-O-Neer
Pie-O-Neer [Pie Town, NM]

New York

Blackbirds
Four & Twenty Blackbirds [Brooklyn, NY]

Little Pie
Little Pie Company {New York, NY]

Milk Bar
Momofuku milk bar [New York, NY]

Baked NYC
Baked NYC [New York, NY]

Pie Corps
Pie Corps [Brooklyn, NY]

Two Little Red Hens
Two Little Red Hens [New York, NY]

City Bakery
The City Bakery [New York, NY]

The Blue Stove
The Blue Stove [Brooklyn, NY]

North Carolina

Scratch Baking
Scratch Baking [Durham, NC]

Angus Barn
Angus Barn [Raleigh, NC]

Ohio

Just Pies
Just Pies [Columbus, OH]

Oklahoma

The original fried pie shop
The Original Fried Pie Shop [Davis, OK]

Oregon

Random Order Coffee
Random Order Coffee [Portland, OR]

Tilt
Tilt [Portland, OR]

Pacific Pie Co.
Pacific Pie Co. [Portland, OR]

Lauretta jean
Lauretta Jean’s [Portland, OR]

Pie Spot
Pie Spot [Portland, OR]

Baker and Spice
Baker and Spice [Portland, OR]

Bannings
Bannings Restaurant and Pie House [Tigard, OR]

Divine Pie
Divine Pie [Portland OR]

Whiffles
Whiffles [Portland OR]

Bipartisan Cafe
Bipartisan Cafe [Portland OR]

Pennsylvania

I Luv Magpie
I Luv Magpie [Philadelphia PA]

South Carolina

Carolina Cider Co.
Carolina Cider Company [Yemassee SC]

South Dakota

Purple Pie Place
Purple Pie Place [Custer, SD]

Tennessee

Dale's Fried Pies
Dale’s Fried Pies [Knoxville, TN]

Littons Burgers
Littons Burgers [Knoxville TN]

Texas

Paris Coffee Shop
Paris Coffee Shop [Fort Worth TX]

Love Creek Orchards
Love Creek Orchards [Medina, TX]

Blue Bonnet Cafe
Blue Bonnet Cafe [Marble Falls TX]

Must be heaven
Must Be Heaven [Bryan TX]

Pie in the Sky
Pie in the Sky [Conroe TX]

Royers Cafe
Royers Round Top Cafe [Round Top TX]

Bevers Kitchen
Bevers Kitchen [Chapel TX]

Texas Pie Co
The Texas Pie Company [Kyle TX]

Cutie Pie wagon
Cutie Pie Wagon [Austin TX]

Emporium Pies
Emporium Pies [Dallas TX]

Tootie Pie
Tootie Pie Co. [Boerne TX]

Virginia

Mom's Apple Pie Co.
Mom’s Apple Pie Co. [Leesburg VA]

Washington

High 5 Pie
High 5 Pie [Seattle WA]

shoofly
Shoofly Pie Co. [Seattle, WA]

a la mode seattle
A La Mode Pies [Seattle WA]

Sweet Savory Pie
Sweet Savory Pie [Seattle WA]

American Pie Bakery
American Pie Bakery [Seattle WA]

West Virginia

Almost Heaven
Almost Heaven Desserts [Bridgeport WV]

Wisconsin

Honey Pie Cafe
Honey Pie Cafe [Milwaukee WI]

Norse Nook
Norse Nook [Osseo WI]

By all means! If there is one fantastically delicious pie maker that SHOULD be on this list of stops, please put in the comments below. I would hate to leave anyone off. The more the merrier right?

Where Are All The Male Bakers?

I have really just started this new adventure and hobby in life, baking pies, and already one of the more surprising things that I have come to discover when getting out and meeting other bakers is that there really aren’t a lot of male bakers around?

I don’t have any male friends or family who have as much a passion for baking as I do (they’re either all are vegetarians and vegans, or like to BBQ – from on extreme to the next), so not sure why I expected the foodie blog-sphere to be any different. But excited in my new endeavor and eager to seek and reach out to other foodie bloggers in the same space, I jumped on the computer, popped open Google Chrome and away I went.

It’s a Woman’s World

Women own the baking (and, for a large part, most foodie sites) blogs and website space. That’s just fact. You literally have to look pretty hard to find a male baker. This wasn’t a bad thing by any stretch but it was surprising, and to say it didn’t cause some ‘pause’ in me starting PIE ADDICT, would be an understatement. My concern was that I couldn’t possibly be the first male to start a dessert foodie blog, so where were all the guys? Was there a reason why they weren’t any? I wasn’t sure, but determined as I was, nothing was going to deter me from building my dream.

The big note here – despite being a seemingly women’s-only club, it’s anything but, with baker bloggers from all over eager to help and encourage me on my endeavor. There to assist on a moment’s call. I love foodies!

Is Baking Not ‘Manly’ Enough?

Most of my guy friends love to BBQ. My Facebook wall is adorned with colorful and mouth-watering, photos of steaks, burgers and chicken sizzling on grills in backyards across America. Groups of guys, huddled up around the smoker, beers in hand, basking in the glory and ritual that is the big BBQ before the big ball game. It’s manly. It’s what we do! I mean, how many guys do you know, who post images of their latest cake design or cookie recipe? Yep, I thought so.

Did it bother me? Not really, but it was interesting and it did arouse some curiosity. How would my images of crust preparation, be received? Or me searching markets, high and low for the perfect batch of fresh blackberries for a cobbler I’d been dying to make? Or showing off the fantastic apple peeling contraption recently received from my mother? As far as I was concerned, this would be all part of the fun! So upload I did, and so well-received were the images, I’ve never turned back!

Maybe, just maybe, I’m one of a unique and special group? Maybe even I’m one of the first when it comes to baking pie? One of the few, Guys who like pies! I like the sound of that, but I doubt it. Somewhere out there, there are guys who love to bake and bake pies, as I do, and one day, I will find them and seek their counsel, not around the BBQ pit but around the oven, as we rant and rave of Martha Stewart’s latest and greatest! It is a dream….I often have! 🙂

Sur La Table Has come to Boise!

Although my hopeless addiction to pie has been virtually over a lifetime, my recent ‘preoccupation’ with learning to make and bake my own pies has led me to another infatuation, and that is to acquire and become expert at any and all kitchen tools, utensils and devices that can aid me in addressing my current flaky crust, fruity additions. You can then imagine my delight when Sur La Table opened up one of their newest boutique right here in my own backyard!

Sur La Table – The Art and Soul of Cooking has really out-done itself with its newly, minted shop at the Village at Meridian. To say that I felt as a kid in a candy store would be a dramatic understatement. To put this into better perspective, I love books. I can spend literally hours browsing and ‘loitering’ in Barnes and Nobles. The book store is my ‘happy place’ on Earth. I wish I could own a book store just so I could have the pleasure at working in it every day. Sur La Table could easily trump my love of bookstores. The mere experience at walking through those glass doors, and in and among the maze of shelves and floor displays of kitchen Heaven was more than I could have possibly imagined or prepared myself for.

Maybe it was, up until a couple years ago, I could’ve accompanied my wife into a kitchen store and thought nothing of it. My face most likely buried into the digital display of my phone and the latest Facebook post or tweet, oblivious to the shiny, stainless steel craftmanship of latest Kitchenaid mixers and blenders. But after my new-found ‘religion’ in pies, and the process and tools that go into making them, I could not help myself, but to stop and gawk at virtually every display in the store.

It didn’t matter what it was.

I went through bake-ware and cookware, mixers, blenders and slow cookers. Pie dishes, pastry mats and utensils. I instantly went from just wanting to get the latest and greatest in tools I’ll need for pie-making to wanting to design and fashion the ultimate kitchen. It was both fun and entertaining, and although I didn’t walk out empty-handed, I swore to myself that I would be back and better prepared to pack my shopping basket to a point of silliness. What did I buy?

Pastry Mat

The days of chasing my wax paper around the kitchen counter as I roll out my dough are over! The Sur La Table nonstick silicone Pastry Mat, complete with charts to help guide you as you prepare your pie crust for the appropriate pie dish. Nice!
pastry-mat

In addition I was also able to obtain the latest calendars of up-and coming cooking courses being offered by Sur La Table, to which I immediately began highlighting the courses I would very soon be signing up for, most notably being the Pie & Tart Workshop being offered in October. Oh the future is looking bright!

Foodie Film Review – The Hundred Foot Journey

Last weekend the wife and I decided to tackle a late, Sunday night movie. It was a little bold, being that we both had to work, but it was a spontaneous, last second decision and one, I might add, that was well worth the exhaustion we had to endure the following day. What did we see? A foodie-lover dream of a film, The Hundred Foot Journey, Produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Film Plot

The story opens up in Mumbai, India, when a family restaurant run by ‘Papa’ (Om Puri) and his family, ends up being destroyed by a mob upset over an local election dispute. Papa and his family successfully evacuate the guests; however Papa’s wife is killed in the fire set at the restaurant. Seeking asylum in Europe, the family first settles in London; however their residence proves ill-suited to run a restaurant from (they are literally living just at the edge of the airport runway at Heathrow Airport), and eventually they depart for mainland Europe.

Shortly after crossing the border into France the brakes on Papa’s vehicle fail, which results in the family being forced to stay a night in a nearby French village. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a local resident and sous chef at an upscale French restaurant in town, helps the family by volunteering the location of an auto repair shop and guest house in the town, as well as providing food for the travel-weary family. Papa is amazed at the quality of the food in the village and its availability, and learns of an abandoned restaurant building on the outskirts of town available for purchase. Seeing this as divine providence, Papa decides to open an Indian restaurant in the village.

Upon learning of Papa’s plan to open an Indian restaurant across the street, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the widowed owner of the upscale French restaurant, attempts to discourage the Indians from proceeding with their plans. After sabotaging Papa’s family by purchasing all the locally available ingredients needed to cook their dishes on opening night, a cold war erupts between Papa and Madame Mallory. The war peaks on Bastille Day, when one of Madame Mallory’s cooks and a pair of his friends vandalize the Indian restaurant by spray painting the outer wall and setting fire to the restaurant’s interior with firebombs. Hassan Haji (Manish Dayal), Papa’s eldest son and premier chef, catches the would be arsonists in the act and scares them off, but in an attempt to extinguish the small fires within the family restaurant his hands end up getting burned.

the hundred foot journey

The following morning, Madame Mallory convenes a meeting of her chefs and asks them if they know the words to La Marseillaise. After citing lines from the song concerning equality and justice, she dismisses the cook from her restaurant responsible for the vandalism and then voluntarily cleans up the graffiti, herself in the midst of a torrential rain storm.

Hassan, having heard that Madame Mallory hires potential chefs by taste testing an omelet they prepare for her, asks if he may cook an omelet for her to try. Citing his injured hands, he says that Madame Mallory will have to help him with the process. After sampling his cooking, Madame Mallory concedes to his potential to be a great chef and invites him to cook for her against the wishes of Papa and his family. Ultimately, Hassan, Papa, and Madam Mallory reach an agreement to allow Hassan to cook in Madam Mallory’s restaurant. Hassan’s cooking proves popular and unconventional enough to result in Madam Mallory’s restaurant receiving its second Michelin Star, an elite honor bestowed on only a handful of restaurants in Europe. The award draws national attention to Hassan’s cooking, and he is offered a job in Paris, France, which he accepts. Meanwhile, Papa and Madam Mallory make amends and ultimately begin to take a romantic liking to each other.

In Paris Hassan’s cooking quickly receives critical acclaim, fueling speculation of a third Michelin Star for the Paris restaurant, he becomes an instant celebrity chef; however Hassan’s restaurant work is increasingly bogged down by thoughts of his family and Marguerite, with whom he had an ongoing romance. Ultimately, Hassan decides to return home, where he and Marguerite reunite. Proposing a business venture together, Hassan declare that he will help Madam Mallory’s restaurant earn its third Michelin Star. That evening, Hassan and Marguerite are allowed to cook dinner for Hassan’s family at Madam Mallory’s restaurant. As the two young chefs bring out the dishes for the meal, everyone looks forward to an evening of romance and fine dining.

Surprisingly Funny, Good Food, Great Cast

I knew virtually nothing of The Hundred Foot Journey, before deciding to view it, other than the main premise of the film was food. So I had no expectations when I walked into the near-empty theater (it was late night Sunday after all) and settled into my cushioned, leather seat.

Papa, played by Om Puri was sensational and very funny, in a grumpy, stubborn sort of way. He was the foundation of the family and the rock on-which the kids anchored themselves to when it came to the direction the family was to take. Most of what comedy was in the film originated with him and it was fantastic.

The food was….. more than delightful. I never get tired of seeing excellent camera work, that can capture the beauty and color of food. From seeing it neatly stacked in the town market, to following it through prep and cooking to watching chefs expertly arrange it on the plate for consumption, The Hundred Foot Journey captured all that more. We saw not just French cuisine but the deliciousness of Indian food as well, with all its color and spice (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it – I may have to grab lunch at my local Indian spot now…ugh!).

The cast was stellar, from Om Puri to Helen Miren to Manish Dayal as Hassan Haji and Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite. A wonderful story of two cultures coming to respect each other and their food traditions, mixed in with a cast that made it work. The Hundred Foot Journey is a enjoyable, heartfelt film fit for foodies the world over.

For those who have seen the film, I would love to hear your personal opinion!

Learning How to Bake Mom’s Apple Pie. The Struggle is Real!

The time-honored moniker we’ve all come to know and love – ‘Mom’s Apple Pie’ isn’t just a saying, it’s a fact. We’ve all grown up loving mom’s apple pie. I mean I think we’d each agree that our own, specific, individual mothers bake the most delicious, uniquely tasting apple pie in the world. So, its natural that at some point in time, we’re going to want to learn this most secret and difficult of recipes to pass along from generation to generation. For me, that time is now.

I have attempted to bake my mom’s apple pie recipe no less than 10 times and out of the ten times I think I have come very, very close on 2, maybe 3 occasions. At first I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going wrong in the recipe as the ‘juice’ seemed a bit to watery. After some trial and error, adding more of this and taking away some of that, I narrowed down the culprit.

Mom's Apple Pie

Sugar
Too much sugar. So I subtracted from the amount of sugar my mother initially told me to use (after all, the pie dish I was using was smaller than my mother typically used). This was more of a delicate matter than I had anticipated, as I whipped up multiple iterations of my mother’s pie design each week.

Consistency is what I strove for. Consistency and the capability of being able to bake this pie with referencing instruction but by pure instinct and knowledge.

Needless to say, I am very nearly there, though not completely comfortable at revealing the recipe and process just yet. A few more attempts me thinks! Stay tuned…