Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie With Flaky Butter Sour Cream Crust

A juicy, sweet yet tart homemade cherry pie complete with a flaky butter, sour cream crust.

The Mother-in-Law is coming to town!

I flew my wife to see her mother, who lives in Hawaii, a couple years back for her birthday. Her mom doesn’t make it to the ‘mainland’ very often so I thought the gesture would be nice. But her mom has not seen (physically seen) her grand-kids for some years now, and so this trip was inevitable. Sure the kids and their grandmother had conversed over SKYPE many, many times over the years, but nothing beats IRL (In-Real-Life). So, long story short, grandma is coming to town in a week and the wife decided that NOW, more than ever, would be a great time to do our Spring Cleaning (or rather, FALL CLEANING).

The days were long and the nights were even longer as we slaved away in dark recesses of the house, seldom ventured to, hauling out ‘junk’ both memorable and ‘ancient.’ We must’ve made 4 or more trips to the city dump and an equal number of trips to the Salvation Army, as we muddled through the heaps of clothes, DVDs. music CDs, VHS tapes (yes, you heard that right…), old TVs, Old computers, old this, old that! It was borderline ridiculous.

At some point during all this, I came across a recipe for a flaky butter, sour cream pie crust, and when the opportunity presented itself, after a looooooong day of hard labor, I managed to sneak away (from the wife…) and make a ‘run’ for the kitchen! Time in-between hauls was short, but this HAD to be done!

I hadn’t made my mother’s homemade cherry pie for some time, and for some reason I was REALLY craving tart cherries, so this seemed the logical choice to run with to test out the crust.

Sour Cream Pie Crust

Flaky Butter Sour Cream Crust

Making the crust was quick and cool, because, you know, I was doing something a bit ‘different’ than I usually do (adding in sour cream), so that small change alone made this oh, so much fun!

There were of course, the ‘usual’ steps, at mixing up some flour, salt and sugar together, then tossing all this with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, which I had cubed. After having mashed the flour-salt-sugar mix together with the ‘slightly’ softened butter cubes, with my ‘CLEAN’ hands (that was for you MOM!), I then added in the sour cream and mixed it all together with a fork.

homemade cherry pie

After gathering it all together into a ball, and splitting it into two equal sizes, I flattened each out, sprinkled with flour and wrapped in plastic wrap for their hour long rest in the fridge. BACK TO CLEANING I grumbled under my breath.

flaky pie crust

Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie

The pie filling for the cherry pie, was easy-peasey to whip together, and one in which I had fully committed to memory long ago.

With almost INHUMAN speed and efficiency (at least that’s how it felt in my OWN MIND), I cracked open three cans of Oregon Red Tart Cherries, and emptied the juice into my saucepan, slightly heating it up. Within a second of that I was whisking together sugar and cornstarch and then mixing and dissolving it into my juice, as I heated it to boil.

With a bit of determined stirring the juices slowly thickened, at which point I spooned in my cherries sitting at IDLE nearby. A few dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla extract as well as a bit of red food coloring to give it a great looking flare and I was done.

Quickly rolling out my pie dough, and assembling it all together in a 9 inch pie dish, my pie was in the oven and on its way!

homemade cherry pie

Cleaning wasn’t done, although it was moving forward (in fact, as of this writing I was STILL cleaning), but at least I had Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie to smooth out the task. Pie make EVERYTHING that much better!

Pie Crust Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of (FULL FAT) sour cream

Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

3 14.5 Oz. cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries, Pitted, packed in water
½ tsp plus dash Nutmeg
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp butter
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ tsp Red Food Coloring
2 cups sugar
4 Tbs Corn Starch

Directions

For the pie crust…

See Elise’s wonderfully arranged blog post – No Fail, Sour Cream Pastry Crust

For the filling…

Open cans, pour liquid into a large measuring cup (each can will have different amount of liquid). You should have approximately 1-1/2cups of liquid. Pour liquid into a saucepan, heat on low.

While liquid heating up, Mix 2 cups sugar, 4 Tbls corn starch and stir into a bowl. If cornstarch is lumpy, press down to break up lumps into sugar. Pour sugar and corn starch into liquid, stirring slowly so it will dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, let it boil until thickens, remove from heat.

Add cherries, spoon them in because dumping cans will result in unwanted juice. Place pan back on burner, continue to stir removing any ugly cherries (presentation is everything right?) – let mixture heat up again. Add ½ tsp plus dash nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon, stirring into mixture. Add 1 tsp vanilla, stirring into mixture. Mixture will thicken, remove from heat and add ¼ tsp Red Food Coloring.

Preheat oven 375 degrees – bake @ 375 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until crust is brown

Enjoy! I know I did!

Quick and Easy Desserts: Blackberry & Lemon Mascarpone Galette

Weeks of travel both for business, fun (Salt Lake City Comic-Con) and ferrying my 10yr. old daughter around to various soccer tournaments in the Pacific Northwest had taken me away from the kitchen for far too long. Through Hell or high water I was determined to whip something up. But again, with a business trip fast approaching, I wanted to throw something together that was easy, quick, tasted great but different than anything I had before. The answer? A Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette!

Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette

Surprise! Here be Blackberries!

I knew I wanted something sweet. I knew I NEEDED something sweet and the tubs of vanilla and cookies and cream ice cream in the freezer weren’t going to cut it. I knew after several weeks drought, that I needed pie or some derivative of pie, like IMMEDIATELY!

I had two glorious bags of frozen blackberries leftover from my last pie venture, so I absolutely wanted to use those in whatever dish I decided on. I had the materials on hand to mix together some pastry, so the crust was covered. I didn’t want to make a blackberry pie. Well, that’s a lie, OF COURSE I wanted to make a blackberry pie, but I wanted to make something different. My mom had just recently sent me a set of ornately crafted deep dish pie dishes that I was anxious to use, but pie, today anyways, seemed like a little too much. After all, whatever I made would have to get devoured before I left the following week on a business trip, so maybe pie was a little overboard. I had made a berry Galette not long ago, and that proved to be both fast and easy to whip up in no time, so a GALETTE was definitely front and center.

To the BAT CAVE! Actually, off to PINTEREST!

Blackberry & Lemon Mascarpone Galette

Lemon zestA quick search for ‘Galettes’ brought up a wide assortment of both savory and fruit dishes that whisked by in a blur as I scrolled furiously down the search results until I settled on the prize! A Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette by Sheryl over at Lady Behind the Curtain.

This was perfect. I wanted a dish that utilized the blackberries I had on hand. I wanted something fast and easy – A Galette AND I wanted something new, which this dish DEFINITELY addressed!

A Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette.

It wasn’t long before my daughter got wind of what I was doing in the kitchen and like a vulture, ‘nested’ on one of the nearby bar stools, where she could watch my preparations. Before she could settle into her perch, I quickly informed her that what I was making, she would not like. I knew this because of previous dishes involving mascarpone cheese which she was not a fan of. She pouted, gave me scowl and ‘flew away.’

Oh well, too bad so sad…ON WE GO! 🙂

Quick To Make, Quicker to Scarf Down!

Quick and easy desserts
Throwing together a simple flaky, butter crust had become second nature, so I barely even noticed my hands at work, getting that together and into the fridge to chill in no time. Blackberries were measured out (with a bit more than the recipe called for – I’m heavy handed when it comes to my fruit filling!) and tossed with sugar in a bowl then set aside. The real fun came next though…

The mascarpone cheese, softened and scooped out, was mixed up with sugar and lemon zest. Finally got use my new Lemon Zester from Amazon! Worked beautifully, of course.

Final touches were simple and quick.

I rolled out my dough, spread my now ‘lemon mascarpone’ across the the flattened dough, then spooned out heaping mounds of juicy, dark blackberries right into the center. In true Galette fashion, I then gently folded up the edges around the dish, leaving only the center exposed, threw on an egg wash and popped it into the oven for 45min.

The results were astounding. The crust was browned and flaky, the berries slightly sweetened and tart, and the all of it lazily laid upon on a bed of creamy, lemon mascarpone.

If Quick and Easy Desserts is what you’re looking for, then this Blackberry & Lemon Mascarpone Galette is just the thing you need!

See the official recipe and preparation instructions here at Lady Behind the Curtain

Black & Blueberry Galette Galore!

I’ve tried to explain exactly what a ‘Galette’ is, as its not a PIE per se’ although I can see how it can be mistaken for one. And if it’s NOT a pie, why in the world am I even making it – usually the next question that comes barreling out. So, because I am just as new to the concept of a ‘Galette’ as the next aspiring baker, I ventured out to find a more appealing and understandable description to exactly what these tasty desserts are!

What is a Galette?

Galette is a French term that refers to a variety of flat, round cakes, usually made with a flaky pastry dough of some kind. The term is very broad and can actually encompass a wide variety of different desserts, including a type of buckwheat crepes popular in parts of France and even types of cookies in French Canada. More often than not, despite the fact that it can refer to a number of different baked goods, the term galette typically refers to a free form tart that is made with a flaky pasty crust. These tarts are not molded in tart pans. Instead, filling is placed directly on top of a sheet of rolled out pastry and the edges of that pastry are folded up and around the filling. The tart becomes crisp during baking and the dessert, as a whole, manages to be both rustic and elegant at the same time.

Galettes can be sweet or savory. When you fill the tart with ingredients vegetables, sausage and cheese can turn a sheet of pastry into a beautiful main course. It is more common for galettes to be filled with fruit, chocolate or other sweet elements and served for dessert, though. For a basic galette, you really only need three ingredients: pastry dough, fruit and sugar. Simply roll your pastry out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (flaky pie pastry will work well) and pile thinly sliced, lightly sweetened fruit in the center of the pastry, leaving a border around the edges. Fold up excess pastry to cover the fruit slightly, then bake until the pastry is brown and crisp. Stone fruits, such as the peaches used in this Easy Peach Galette, make excellent galettes, but so do apples, berries and even grapes. [Courtesy of BakingBites]

As you can see, NOT a pie, but since it has flaky crust and fruit, I’ll allow it!

The Boise Color Run

Boise Color Run

The wife, ever expanding and broadening her health and fitness ambitions, had me up early to. A five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants, or “Color Runners” as they are called, are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. The race has only two simple rules – Wear white at the starting line and finish plastered in color!

Boise Color Run

I was the designated camera man for her and her intrepid band of merry women, as they excitedly and with much enthusiasm subjected themselves to salvo after salvo of colorful BLASTS from eager race volunteers. The women had a great time, got really REALLY colorfully-dirty, and it was a great experience to be had from participants and spectators alike.

Boise Idaho Color Run

A Blackberry & Blueberry Galette For You!

I had been pining to bake a Galette ever since I first happened upon them one day while browsing through Pinterest (my favorite pie and pastry recipe hunting grounds).
blueberry galette
I had some frozen blackberries I had stocked up on a week or so ago and some leftover blueberries from a recent, hearty breakfast of bacon and blueberry pancakes we just had, so the first thing I did was run a search for a black and blueberry Galette recipe.

One of the first galette recipes I came across was a Berry Galette from Williams-Sonoma. The photograph struck me first then then the simplicity of the prep/cook time and ingredients required. This was not only do-able but was going to get DONE!

I quickly gathered up what supplies I had on hand, which for this particular recipe was basically everything except a little more butter, so after a quick jaunt to the local supermarket I was back at home and lining it all up!. Go time folks!

The prep time was a spot on, such a quick recipe to whip together its almost scary that you could whip up something so freakin’ delicious in so little time. And the cool thing about these Galette dishes is the fact that you can use such a wide variety of fruits in them. Stay tuned for more Galette dishes that’s for sure.

blueberry galette

When it was all said and done, to be honest, a Galette wasn’t much different from say a blackberry or blueberry pie. The difference being, and I think many will like this, is that you essentially only have one layer of crust and not as much filling, which makes for a thinner and LIGHTER dessert? At least it feel that way when you slice it up (like a pizza) and have a slice.

Galette recipe

Of course, when you dump a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a heap of coool whip on it, that seems to add a bit of ‘heft’ to it, but I think if you’re looking for something that by feel and appearance helps you NOT feel so guilty having a slice, a Black & Blueberry Galette like this one may do the trick?

blueberry galette

All in all, a delicious recipe and dessert that did not disappoint, was quick and easy to make and may even lessen the guilt for my more health-conscious readers.

So if you don’t mind giving it a shot, here is the Berry Galette recipe at Williams-Sonoma. Happy Baking!

The Perfect Raspberry Cream Pie

The ‘Fellowship’ (Me, The Wife and Baby Girl) didn’t have much planned for the weekend, other than taking a Saturday morning bike ride, so the next couple days were open and free for the taking! I had a bag of fresh blackberries in the freezer, courtesy of a family friend, that was just daring me to thaw them out, but I had other grand schemes! I had just baked a blackberry pie for the kids last weekend, so I was done with blackberries (for now anyways…) and decided to tackle a Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe I had been eyeing for some time.

Raspberry Cream Pie

The Raspberry Cream Pie wasn’t too tough, with a buttery graham cracker crust, cream cheese/cool whip infused cream and raspberry filling, it definitely was very do-able for this PIE ADDICT!

Raspberry Pie

I hadn’t put together a graham cracker crust in a while, always changing it out of recipes for a shortbread or cream cheese crust, but since I hadn’t thrown one together lately I figured I might as well stay in practice.

Making the raspberry filling was actually pretty cool though, as the mixture of corn starch, corn syrup and sugar, bubbling in a saucepan ‘broke’ down the whole raspberries into something consistent to a ‘jelly-like’ filling. It was great to watch it happen.

cream pie

I’ve made a number of cream pies over the Summer and each one different in the ingredients I used, which is really quite neat. Before I got into making pies and was just devouring them from Marie Callender’s or wherever, I never gave much thought into HOW exactly cream fillings were made.

This particular filling had me mixing cream cheese, cool whip and powdered sugar, and when it was done, it was a creamy smooth and sugary sweet delight!

Raspberry Cream Pie

Raspberry Pie

With the raspberry filling now cool, I spread this atop the cream now resting nicely within the graham cracker crust I baked earlier. Into the fridge it went, for several hours and then…BOOOM!!!

The cream and raspberry filling together was great. Either one by themselves would of tasted good but having the sweetness of the raspberries mingled with the cream was both explosive and smooth.

Raspberry Cream Pie

cream pie

Thanks to Holly Lofthouse and her wonderful Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe. Check out more fine recipes on her website – Life in the Lofthouse

Lemon Sour Cream Pie With Cream Cheese Crust & Whipped Topping

Just when we thought we were out of the proverbial ‘frying pan’ in Boise, temperatures soared into the low 100s over this past weekend, all but assuring that I wouldn’t be stepping outside until well after dusk. My two sons were out an about, probably at work, my daughter was in her room, probably whipping together the latest in high-rise architecture in Minecraft, and the wife was at the gym (her 2nd home). I was alone and free to let my pie baking passions run rampant so I decided to amp it up a notch with a Lemon Sour Cream Pie. Perfect for a hot (more like sweltering) Sunday afternoon in the City of Trees.

Lemon Squeezer
Amco Enameled Aluminum Lemon Squeezer

I should take that back actually. The WIFE is the one who ‘planted’ the notion in my feeble, pie-addicted mind, that SHE would even be willing to try out one of my pies if I made a Lemon Sour Cream Pie. I had been trying and trying over the last year, nearly, to get her to try one of my pies, but burning calories and building muscle always persevered….until NOW!

So, with a little more incentive and ‘pep to my step’ with this project, a Lemon Sour Cream Pie became my priority for the day.

Cream Cheese Pie Crust
Cream Cheese Pie Crust

Oh, and I didn’t stop there! I had been wanting to try out a cream cheese pie crust recipe , so I thought I’d build that into the project as well. It was a lot simpler to make than I thought and very very quick compared to a standard flaky butter pie crust, which has to rest in the refrigerator for a period of time. With the cream cheese crust, you essentially make it, press it into the pie dish, bak it for 10-11 minutes and you’re done! Time to move along!

cream cheese pie crust
Cream Cheese Pie Crust

The Lemon Sour Cream filling was where the fun really got started, as I had never made a filling quite like it before. Sure I had become pretty good at creamy fruit pies, but this was a bit different, and more of a ‘process’ to get right.

The Lemon Sour Cream Pie recipe I used was from Lauren over at Tastes Better From Scratch.

With a cream pie like this, the beauty was all in the ‘process’, mixing sugar and cornstarch, milk and freshly squeezed lemon juice into a hot, bubbling goop! Then adding in egg, lemon zest and butter to complete the transformation. Watching the ingredients come together visually and chemically was fun to take in. And, after spooning up a small smidgen of the filling and tasting it, after I adding in the sour cream and letting it cool, I knew I was putting together something wholly different but uniquely special!

Lemon Sour Cream Pie
Lemon Sour Cream Pie

The whipped topping was thrown together almost second nature after having been down this path on many past fruit cream pies.

The cream cheese pie crust was cooled and ready….

The Lemon sour cream filling, was ready….

The whipped cream topping was ready…

…a few hours in the fridge, would finish it off, chilling and setting the pie for later consumption.

Lemon Sour Cream Pie
Lemon Sour Cream Pie

I cut a single slice. The knife almost literally ‘fell’, lightly through the fluff of the whipped cream topping and creamy lemon sour cream filling, until it gently, and without little effort pushed through the now slightly-hardened cream cheese crust below.

I took a good-sized mouthful and let the lemon just zing around the insides of my mouth. It was wonderful, and RICH. My daughter, having been drawn to the kitchen earlier, was up next, and she made short order of the rest of the slice. Obviously..she enjoyed it.

The Wife was next, having just returned from a workout that would of made Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson envious. Hers would be the test of ALL TESTs, as this would be the first time she had EVER tasted any of my lovely pies. She loved it and though she proclaimed that she would have to ‘step up’ her workout regime (whatever the Hell that means), she vowed to have another slice, maybe even two in the coming days. Mission successful!

LEMON SOUR CREAM PIE RECIPE RUNDOWN
TASTE: The lemon was wonderful, just as you’d taste in a lemon meringue pie. You could barely taste the distinct flavoring of the sour cream as a short after taste, with the lemon lingering on with each delightful chew.

TEXTURE: The creamy filling was smooth and fluffy soft. Not hard or thick as you might think. ‘Biting’ down into this is a bit of a misnomer, as you could literally ‘gum’ this pie to death! The cream cheese crust, was crumbly, but not like a graham cracker crust, which tends to crumble all over. It was a softer crust than a shortbread cookie crust but held together much better than a graham cracker crust.

PROS:The fresh lemon gave it a bitter first taste that was evened out with the sour cream and whipped topping. The cream cheese crust kept it all together and shaped nicely when you cut out a slice. The pie is fairly simple to make and relatively quick as well.

CONS:The pie is RICH in taste which will limit the size of the slice you take, which may be a good thing since this will probably add some minutes to your gym time as you try to burn it off.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Lauren at Tastes Better From Scratch for a wonderful recipe

Vodka Pie Crust. What’s The Benefit Besides the Obvious?

Although I’m still cautiously venturing through the land of BOOZY PIE RECIPES on my way to excellence, I have from time to time come across pie crust recipes that featured Vodka as a prominent ingredient. Like everyone else, the first thing that came to mind was, NICE! Another place, besides the fruity filling, where I can ‘infuse’ my dessert with a bit of alcohol. The more the merrier right? But be that as it may, there is another, just as important benefit to having Vodka Pie Crust.

Several years ago Cook’s Illustrated Magazine had come up with their ‘Foolproof Pie Dough‘ that featured Vodka in the recipe. At the time, I imagine it was probably a relatively new or rarely used ingredient in pie crust, but since then, you now see Vodka in variety recipes.

The recipe called for only a quarter cup of cold Vodka (and actually, if you didn’t have any Vodka on hand, the recipe did state that you could use any 80 proof alcohol), so it wasn’t much, especially if you thought it would maybe add a little ‘feel good’ to the deliciousness of the pie dish. But surprisingly, the reason Vodka was included in the recipe was a more ‘healthier’ a benefit.

Vodka Pie Crust Benefits

From Cook’s Illustrated – Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that baked up tender and flaky and rolled out easily every time, we found a magic ingredient: vodka. Using vodka, which is just 60 percent water, gave us an easy-to-roll crust recipe with less gluten and no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.

In essence, more gluten bad, less gluten good, and Vodka is the key to this equation. Why is gluten bad for you? That is a wholly separate topic and one that is better explained on Paleo Leap’s 11 Ways Gluten and Wheat Can Damage Your Health. But for the meantime, and for the sake of argument, let’s just say, if there was any way to continue to devour good pie AND make it a bit more healthier than usual, most of us would probably take that route.

So apparently, Vodka CAN make your pie crust healthier than usual and that’s a good thing. So if you haven’t tried it, give it a shot, I know I will be. And if you don’t mind leaving in the comments your results or opinion on this, please do so – I would highly appreciate it!

To learn more about the negative effects of gluten, click here

4 Facts About Orange Cream Pie That’ll Keep You Up At Night

Remember when we were kids, frolicking in the Summer heat with friends, and we’d come inside after a long, sweaty game of tag? The air in the house almost uncomfortably chilly from the air conditioning. Remember how the first place you’d ‘raid’ was the kitchen, rummaging about the cupboard and refrigerator for anything sweet and even better, COLD! Remember, spotting that unmistakable box of ORANGE CREAMSICLES tucked in the freezer, yanking one out and biting into it? Crackling through the icy, orange-flavored shell and into that wonderfully, smooth vanilla cream center? You think THAT gives you great memories, let me give you 4 more!

creamsicle-box

This past weekend I made good on my promise to my daughter, that I’d make the frozen orange cream pie recipe that she’d been pining for over the last several months. After much whining, I finally decided to give in.

shortbread cookie crust prep

The recipe I used for the orange cream pie, I found over at A Mom’s Take. The recipe, by Janel at ‘A Mom’s Take’ was as simple and relatively quick as they came, so naturally it was my first choice!

shortbread cookie crust

Of course, when the time came to ‘pitch in’ and help, as I have required my daughter to do, each and every time she has requested a specific pie dish, she was no where to be found. That is, of course, until I started mixing together the vital ingredients for the orange cream filling!

[See the Frozen Orange Cream Pie recipe here at – A Mom’s Take]

cookie pie crust

She couldn’t wait to taste the filling! But then again, neither could I. I mean, we’re talking about re-creating one of the greatest, most prevalent, childhood memories ever known, in the form of a PIE?! Even I, The great and powerful PIE ADDICT was skeptical!

orange cream pie filling

But all that worry went down to the tummy as soon as I spooned a helping down the pie hole! I’m not going to get in to how it tasted, but trust me when I say this, it didn’t disappoint and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would taste like after having sat in the freezer for 24 hours.

orange-cream-pie05

The recipe made enough for a couple 9″ pie dishes but I opted for just one since this was still relatively new ground I was breaking here. I spooned the mix into one shortbread cookie crusted dish (note: the recipe called for a graham cracker crust, but as some of you may well know, I almost always substitute graham cracker crust for shortbread cookie crust), and tossed it into the freezer for its lengthy 24 hour hibernation.

Orange Cream Pie Recipe

I guess I don’t need to tell you how it came out or how it looked, but I will tell you how it tasted! It was like an orange creamsicle poured over a cookie crust, and yes, it tasted just as good as that just sounded! It was wonderful and maybe even more amazing than your typical orange creamsicle because it had not only vanilla ice cream in it but cool whip as well. Absolutely blew away my worries and low expectations.

So after having had the delightful opportunity to taste this wonderful dessert, let me now tell you 6 facts about orange cream pie that may just keep you up at night!

orange-cream-pie01

1. It’ll awaken the most dormant of happy childhood memories. I mentioned it before and I’ll say it again, creamsicles are one the staples of the American childhood and this orange cream pie recipe brings those memories front and center with every frosty flavorful bite.

2. It’s tough to resist scooping a spoonful. The orange cream pie is one of those pies that has you wanting to take a bite out of it every time you walk through the kitchen. I swear, it’s like some sort of subliminal whisper that beckons you to interrupt whatever it is you’re doing to open the freezer door. Weird.

3. You become possessive. You find yourself worried someone else has taken a piece or a ‘spoonful’ in your absence, while you were at work or ‘trying’ to sleep. You find yourself , sneaking into the kitchen at ungodly hours just to peek at it, and make sure all is well!

6. It’s probably not the most healthy of desserts, but then again, WHAT GOOD DESSERT IS? Hey, I’m not going to deny this probably ups your calorie intake substantially for the day, but every now and then you have to indulge! right? No? Well whatever, I say INDULGE! Live a little!

orange-cream-pie03

Don’t know what else to tell you, but as a PIE ADDICT I fully support your decision to TRY and ignore this post, though we both know RESISTANCE IS UTTERLY FUTILE!

For the full recipe and preparation steps, again, head over to Janel’s A Mom’s Take

The Ultimate Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

HOW COULD OF I BEEN SO FOOLISH?! I recently spoke about Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and the vegetable Rhubarb, in particular, as I contemplated baking my very first strawberry rhubarb pie recipe. After having just DEVOURED a slice of a still warm, and very tart and juicy strawberry rhubarb pie dish, I am dumbfounded by my never having tried this most popular of dishes!

For the past week I have been telegraphing my intentions at ‘maybe’ baking a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, on Twitter and Facebook and all week I have been receiving feedback from friends that Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is one of the best pie recipes, like EVER!

Curiosity took me from ‘being on the fence’ to ‘through Hell or high water’ this pie was going to get made! So where to begin?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

What Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe Did I use?

I had been reviewing strawberry rhubarb pie recipes all week in anticipation of making one and couldn’t quite make up my mind between the few that I found likable. My daughter, normally my pie baking sidekick was absolutely zero help since she was vehemently against me undertaking this latest venture…

  1. Cooking strawberries is wrong. ‘Who in the world ‘cooks’ strawberries Dad’ she stammered. ‘That’s disgusting’
  2. Puting a vegetable (rhubarb) in pie is totally disgusting!
  3. You were supposed to make me an orange cream pie?!So you’re messing up anyways!

Daughters…. what do you do with them, right?

But I did come across a couple relatively simple recipes that caught my eye. Only issue I had with them is that each had something from the other that I wanted in MY OWN STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE.

rhubarb pie recipe

I basically started on Oprah’s page (can’t go wrong with Oprah right?), found a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe by Cindy Crawford (yep, the former model…I know right?!), which initially caught my attention because she used cinnamon and nutmeg in her recipe. What turned me off was the use of flour in the mix, which if you know me, know I wasn’t very fond of that as a ‘juice thickening’ ingredient. About the same time, I came across a rhubarb pie recipe on Serious Eats that called for cornstarch in place of flour to thicken the juices. That I liked!

So with recipe(s) now in hand I drove forward…

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe Preparation

Please note that at the outset of this, I had serious reservations about rhubarb. I had NEVER tasted it, NEVER cooked it and certainly had NEVER, before today, eaten it, so everything about it made me a little uneasy. Hence, when the recipes called for ‘chopping’ the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces, I was like – NOPE! Too big! and instead I diced up my 3 cups or so of the tart veggie up pretty small.

From here on out, I followed the Serious Eats pie recipe, only borrowing the cinnamon/nutmeg idea from Cindy Crawford’s and chucking the rest.

My pie crust was made the night before (here is the recipe for that), so once the strawberry/rhubarb filling was ready to go, I dumped it into my 9-inch, glass pie dish, broke off a few pieces of butter, then covered it all up with my pie pastry topping. After giving it a washing of milk, sprinkling again with cinnamon and nutmeg and cutting slits in the top, I put into the oven for 45min (turning every 15min and placing foil around the edges to keep the crust from burning).

And, The Verdict?

In the days leading up to BAKE DAY, as I mentioned, I had spoken to a number of folks regarding strawberry rhubarb pie, and 9 out of 10 folks stated that it was indeed their favorite pie dish. The anticipation was KILLING ME, after I had taken the pie out of the oven and let it sit at rest for 30-40min.

First off, it was juicy! I had drained the excess juice from the strawberry/rhubarb/sugar mixture before placing in the pie dish, but still, despite the 5 tablespoons of corn starch, the juice was still fairly thin. Granted it may thicken up tomorrow, since pies typically are fairly juicy right out of the oven.

strawberry pie

The first thing I looked for when I cut into the pie, was the rhubarb. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was the fear of seeing vegetables mixed in with my fruit pie, who knows. But I WAS looking for it. Surprisingly, the rhubarb had cooked into the strawberry filling pretty good, so I could barely see it.

From the slice of pie, now on my plate, I scooped up a mouthful and shoveled it in.

The crust was flaky and slightly crisped, but still soft and flavorful. The filling had a sharp, sweetened strawberry taste initially, which shortly turned into a slight tart after taste. Tart like a sweet tart. I had never had a pie dish quite like it, with both sweet and sour exploding throughout my mouth. It was different, but surprisingly good, and I found myself scarfing down the entire piece in no time at all. The tartness lingered, even after finishing, a testament to how tart rhubarb really is.

All in all, the strawberry rhubarb pie was a resounding success, and definitely a recipe I’m sure I’ll be re-visiting in the very near future.

What’s So Special About Rhubarb Strawberry Pie?

Boise is HOT! I mean yes, it is a HOT and AWESOME place to live and raise a family, but this past week has also been extremely HOT temperature-wise, with most days hovering in the low 100s. I know right?! So what’s the plan for this weekend? Besides taking my baking-sidekick daughter to see MINIONS, the weekend is relatively wide open, which for me means, IT’S BAKING TIME BABY!

Mom’s Latest Baking Project

My lovely mother, residing in Texas, if it were up to her would have me try out this ‘interesting’ apple pie recipe she recently stumbled on, called APPLE CHARLOTTE – featured on the FoodNetwork, and Trish’s Southern Cooking Show.
apple charlotte pie
I say ‘interesting’ because the crust, is made from ‘THIN SLICED WHITE BREAD.’ Yea, I know!

But Mom says the Apple Charlotte pie turned out surprisingly great and she has been swearing up and down all week that I HAVE to make and try (After all, if it hadn’t been for Mom I would’ve never embarked on my Pie Baking Adventures! So if she says its GOOD…it’s probably pretty GOOD!). She wants me to make it my weekend baking project as well. In fact, I think, she has maybe even gone out and purchased me a ‘Charlotte Mold’ online (the dish used in the recipe), but I’m not sure. I’ll let you know!

Unfortunately however, I have had my mind set on another, particularly interesting, yet VERY POPULAR pie dish, for the last couple weeks that will most likely occupy my schedule this weekend…

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Rhubarb Pie, however you want to say it, this particular dish has had me twisted up in curiosity for sometime now. And why? Mainly because I have NEVER had Rhubarb, and up until now, have never even seen let alone tasted Rhubarb, yet this plant is EXTREMELY popular.

WHAT IS RHUBARB?

Rhubarb is a VEGETABLE (yes, this is probably one of the PRIMARY reasons I have not even remotely considered using this in ANY of my sweet and succulent pie dishes!) with long, reddish, leafy stalks, similar to celery that have a strong tart taste. The plant’s leaf stalks have traditionally been cooked with sugar and used in a variety of pie and dessert recipes. [source: Wikipedia – Rhubarb]

Is Rhubarb Healthy for you?

Rhubarb is technically classified as a vegetable, so naturally the first thing that comes to mind is, is Rhubarb healthy for you? It would certainly add a little (just a little…) assurance that eating pie is GOOD FOR YOU! No? Whatever…hehehehe….

Apparently the Rhubarb root is high in fiber and was popular in ancient Chinese medicine for soothing stomach ailments and relieving constipation. But rhubarb also makes an effective poultice for relieving fevers and swelling. So it definitely has some important medicinal applications. Eat PIE relieve PAIN. I like it already!

What else…
Every serving of rhubarb provides 45% of the daily value in vitamin K, which supports healthy bone growth and can limit neuronal damage in the brain, even to the point of Alzheimer’s prevention. It contains infection-fighter vitamin C, the second most prominent vitamin, along with vitamin A, another powerful natural antioxidant for good skin and mucous membranes, good vision, and possible protection against lung and mouth cancers (the red stalks provide more than the green ones), with healthy additions of folate, riboflavin, niacin, B-vitamins, and pantothenic acid. Good mineral sources include 32% of the daily value in manganese per serving, along with iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

While many believe milk is the best calcium source, one cup of cooked rhubarb contains just as much, and it’s actually much better for you. In fact, rhubarb is on the short list with salmon and spinach for the highest amounts of calcium it provides. [source: Food Facts]

So essentially, with a Rhubarb-infused pie, you don’t need to eat any vegetable anymore! My pie will be all you need! Yes!

What’s So Special About Rhubarb Strawberry Pie?

Naturally, after having been immersed, body and soul into pie baking over the last 6 months or so, there has been no avoiding discussions and praises ‘belched’ out across the digital landscape on the absolute deliciousness of Rhubarb Strawberry Pie. I mean, people SWEAR by it, with many of my friends proclaiming it easily their most favorite of pie dishes. WTH?! What have I been missing here?
rhubarb strawberry pie
So this weekend – Rhubarb and I will get acquainted, and I can’t wait to share it with you, because that would mean I would’ve already had the opportunity to eat pie and everyone knows I LOVE to eat pie!

Come back next week for my report!

26 Boozy, Yet Irresistible & Easy Pie Recipes. Cheers!

I’ve always wondered, since there are so many recipes for lunch and dinner dishes that call for a bit of wine or beer, there should definitely be an equal number of dessert items calling for the same thing? And not just any desserts, but easy pie recipes infused with a bit some of the more popular adult beverages like Bourbon, rum and vodka! Enjoy!

[full_width][one_half]1. Caramel Banana Pie with Bourbon by Never Enough Thyme
Caramel Banana Pie with Bourbon[/one_half][one_half] “…Mix the sweetened condensed milk with the bourbon and pour the mixture into an 8-inch pie plate.Cover the pie plate with aluminum foil. Pour about ¼-inch hot water in a larger shallow pan. Place covered pie plate in pan and bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until condensed milk is thick and caramel colored (add hot water to pan as needed). Remove foil when done, and set aside…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]2. Fresh Strawberries & Amaretto Cream Pie Recipe by Taste of Home
Fresh Strawberries & Amaretto Cream Pie[/one_half][one_half]”In a small bowl, beat whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sour cream, confectioners’ sugar and amaretto; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling. Top with additional strawberries and almonds if desired.”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]3. Ginger Bourbon Peach Pie by Buns in My Oven
easy pie recipes[/one_half][one_half]“…To make the filling, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the peaches, one at a time, to the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove to a bowl filled with icy water for 10 seconds. The skin should easily peel right off the peaches. Thinly slice the peaches and place in a large bowl. Toss with the bourbon. Gently stir in the brown sugar, corn starch, ginger, and cinnamon and stir to coat the peaches…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]4. Vanilla Bourbon Cherry-Blueberry Pie by Half Baked Harvest
cherry-blueberry[/one_half][one_half]“…In a large bowl toss together the cherries. blueberries, coconut sugar, cornstarch, bourbon, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and zest of 1 lemon. Toss well to coat making sure everything is well mixed. Spoon the filling into the prepared pie plate. Make sure to scrape in all the good juices left in the bowl!”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]5. Kahlua Cream Cheese Pie by Eat By Date
kahlua-cheese[/one_half][one_half]“…Beat 1/2 cup of Kahlua liquor into remaining cream cheese mixture and then pour it on top of the pie.
Note: you can get creative here and make swirls or a design if you like…”
[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]6. Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Pie by Host The Toast
brown-butter-peach[/one_half][one_half]“…In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, and water. Stir JUST UNTIL the sugar dissolves and then let come to a boil. Resist the urge to stir while it boils. Swirl the pan occasionally to make sure the caramel is browning evenly, but DO NOT STIR.

Once the caramel turns a deep amber brown, remove from heat and add in the butter, swirling the pan until the butter completely melts. Pour the caramel over the peaches and mix well. Pour the peach-caramel filling into the prepared pie shell and place in the refrigerator once more…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]7. Bourbon Caramel Chocolate Banana Cream Pie by Use Real Butter
chocolate-cream[/one_half][one_half]“…In a small saucepan heat the butter, cream, and salt together over medium heat until it begins to boil. Cover and turn off the heat. Stir the sugar, 1 tbsp of bourbon, corn syrup, and water together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves (it must dissolve or you will brick the whole thing). If the sugar doesn’t seem to dissolve, add a little more water and stir/heat it until it dissolves…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]8. Peach Bourbon Pie by Gimme Some Oven
peach-bourbon02[/one_half][one_half]“…In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon zest. Add the peaches and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and bourbon, and toss until evenly coated…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]9. Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie by A Beautiful Mess
spiced-apple[/one_half][one_half]“…Peel and thinly slice the apples. The thinner your slices the more area for the spiced bourbon coating to stick to. I use a Mandoline and highly recommend them. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools. Set aside your apples and in a small bowl whisk together the milk, corn starch, bourbon, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the apples and gently mix them up so that all slices get coated….”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]10. Apple Bourbon Pot Pies by Martha Stewart
apple-pot-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…In a large bowl, toss together apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and allspice. In a large straight-sided skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add half of fruit mixture and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining 3 tablespoons butter and remaining fruit mixture, then return first batch of fruit mixture to pan. Stir in bourbon, then add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]11. Ginger Bourbon Peach Pie by Buns in My Oven
ginger-peach[/one_half][one_half]“…To make the filling, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the peaches, one at a time, to the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove to a bowl filled with icy water for 10 seconds. The skin should easily peel right off the peaches. Thinly slice the peaches and place in a large bowl. Toss with the bourbon. Gently stir in the brown sugar, corn starch, ginger, and cinnamon and stir to coat the peaches…”
[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]12. Bourbon Banana Cream Pie by The Woks of Life
banana-cream-bourbon[/one_half][one_half] “…Whisk a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately whisk the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook over low heat for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the mixture from the stove and whisk in the last 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons bourbon until the mixture is smooth. Let the pudding cool completely. If the pudding gets too thick as it cools, whisk in a bit more milk (a little at a time) until you reach the desired consistency…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]13. Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie by Leite’s Culinaria
rum-apple[/one_half][one_half]“…Add the apples, dividing them between the 2 pans, and sauté until they are about half-cooked and the juices that are released boil away and reduce until no liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss and stir the apples regularly while they are cooking so they cook evenly on both sides. When the apples are done, they should have some give but should not fall apart when you press one between your fingers. Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool completely to room temperature.
When the apples are cool, add the brown sugar, rum, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pectin or extra cornstarch, spices, and salt and toss to combine…”
[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]14. Rum Vanilla Cream Pie by Daily Delicious
rum-vanilla[/one_half][one_half]“…Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and vanilla seed, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick.
Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Add milk mixture in a slow , steady stream, whisk until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it return to boil 1-2 minutes.
Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, and stir in 1tbsp of dark rum. Add butter, whisk until butter melts. Let cool, whisking occasionally about 10 minutes…”
[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]15. Coconut-Lime “Island Breeze” Icebox Pie by The Cozy Apron
lime-ice-box[/one_half][one_half]“…Spiced Rum Whipped Cream. Add the the cold whipping cream to a bowl, and using a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until thickened; next, add in the sugar and the rum, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form; keep in fridge until ready to use…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]16. Rum Raisin Pie by She Knows
rum-raisin[/one_half][one_half]“..Mix raisins and rum into a bowl. Microwave for one minute or until raisins plump up. Set mixture aside. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and eggs. Stir until fully combined.
Heat cream over medium heat until thickened, but not boiling. Add cream to sugar mixture, stirring constantly.
Place milk and sugar mixture into a sauce pan until thick (it will resemble custard). Stir the custard constantly and pour into a bowl. Over a bowl of ice, place custard bowl to slightly chill. Stir while it’s cooling. Once cooled, mix custard with melted butter and raisin mix. Pour into pie crust. Cover the custard raisin mix with entire tub of whipped topping, being sure to completely cover raisin custard…”
[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]17. Boozy Blueberry Cherry Red Wine Pie by Eat The Love
boozy-blueberry[/one_half][one_half]“…Sprinkle the water and vodka over the flour butter mixture and toss with a fork until it forms a dough. If the dough seems too wet, sprinkle a little more flour onto it and fold it in, but the dough is meant to be tacky wet. Gather 1/2 of the dough and flatten into a 1/2” thick disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and repeat with the other half of the dough. Place both disks in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]18. Hard Cider Apple Pie by Bake it with Booze
apple-pie-booze[/one_half][one_half]“…To make the filling, combine the apple slices, 2/3 cup hard cider, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and salt in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves and the apples are thickly coated, about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp hard cider and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add this mixture to the apples and boil for 1 or 2 minutes until the liquid is thick and clear. Removed the pot from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes…” [/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]19. Grasshopper Pie by Chocolate, Chocolate and More
grasshopper-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…Combine Marshmallows, sugar and remaining butter in a double boiler (you can do this in a regular saucepan if you don’t have a double boiler.) Cook until marshmallows are completely melted and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in Creme De Menthe. Let cool to room temperature…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]20. Kahlua And Oreo Pie by e is For Eat
oreo-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…Pulse cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Stir in melted butter and reserve 1/2 cup. Press remaining cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of a freezer safe pie or brownie pan. Stir together marshmallow creme and Kahlua until well combined. Whip cream until peaks form. Fold into Kahlua mixture and pour into pan on top of Oreo crumbs…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]22. Grown-Up Banoffee Pie by Good Food
banoffee-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…Put the remaining chocolate, the cream, 2 tbsp caramel, the rum and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and melt until smooth and combined. Pour the mix over the bananas, then chill for at least 4 hrs…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]23. Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust by Circulon
pumpkin[/one_half][one_half]“…Combine the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie crust and set on a shallow rimmed baking sheet. Loosely cover the crust with aluminum foil….”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]24. Chocolate Bourbon Cream Pie by Milk and Honey
chocolate-bourbon[/one_half][one_half]“…Whisk the brown and caster sugars, cornflour, bourbon and egg yolks together until combined. Whisk in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Transfer to a clean pan and place over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Continue whisking for 1 – 2 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Set aside to cool slightly…”[/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]25. Boozy Mississippi Bourbon Mud Pie by Use Real Butter
mississippi-mud-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, butter, and corn syrup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir or whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar and the bourbon until fully incorporated and smooth. Evenly spread the bourbon fudge over the pie crust and chill for 2 hours or until set. When the fudge is set, soften the coffee ice cream by microwaving it on high for 10 seconds or letting it sit on the counter for 10 minutes…” [/one_half][/full_width]

 

[full_width][one_half]26. Dick Taeuber’s Brandy Alexander Pie on NY Times Cooking
brandy-pie[/one_half][one_half]“…Pour 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over it. Add 1/3 cup sugar, salt and egg yolks. Stir to blend. Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture thickens. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir the Cognac and creme de cacao into the mixture. Then chill until the mixture starts to mound slightly when nudged with a spoon…”[/one_half][/full_width]

A Southern Mixed Berry Cream Pie

If you haven’t already, you must try making a cream pie. ANY cream pie will do. But first a word of caution, you WILL become addicted to them, more-so than any other dish, and this I promise you! But before I dive into the making and more importantly, the TASTING of my mixed raspberry, blueberry and strawberry cream pie, I must first briefly tell you how I came about tackling this recipe.

THE BOOK

Out of the blue my mother informed me one afternoon that she had ordered me something off Amazon.com. If I have one HUGE supporter (besides my Wife) that takes a profound interest in my pie making project and addictions its my mother, who currently resides in Texas.

Southern Pie Book

She didn’t divulge exactly WHAT was coming, but when it finally arrived, I was both surprised and not. Shredding through the stiff Amazonian, cardboard packaging I excitedly ripped out, The Southern Pie Book (Southern Living) by Fan Moon. The South as you may or may not know has always been recognized for their flavorful baking and cooking and pies were no exception. Like any aspiring cook, I welcomed my new book with open arms and at first opportunity, thumbed through every page and devoured every line of text.

THE DAUGHTER

My daughter had grown accustomed to the stacks of books and magazines piled in uneven heaps in the backseat of my Jeep. It was a bad habit I had nurtured and grown over the years, always wanting easy and quick access to reading material whenever I was stuck in traffic or waiting for something. I never have a book, reading or cookbook out of my reach day or night. I’m weird like that I suppose.

One day she noticed the The Southern Pie Book resting atop one of the piles and during one of our bi-weekly commutes to her soccer practice across town, she managed to thumb through the book in its entirety and ‘bookmark’ recipes that looked good, with a stack of post-it notes she found under my seat.

Twenty minutes later she had depleted the entire book of post-it notes and my The Southern Pie Book was completely ‘bedazzled’ with yellow, blue and pink post-its. More importantly she had specifically chosen a special recipe from the book in-which she DECLARED would be ‘OUR’ next pie project. A mixed raspberry, blueberry and strawberry cream pie.

MIXED BERRY CREAM PIE

Several weeks later we finally found some free time to start tackling the recipe.

If you can believe it, we had a surprisingly difficult time finding one of the key ingredients on the list, mascarpone cheese. Yea…I KNOW! Several of the local Albertson grocery stores near me didn’t carry it, and at one point hope began to diminish that we would be able to make this recipe, until I came across it at a Whole Foods store on the far side of town. Recipe SAVED! Back on schedule!

Preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I started in on the shortbread cookie crust, using Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, blended up into crumbs using a small food processor (I have GOT to get me a bigger processor…UGH!). I then measured out the crumb’d mix until I was sure I had 1 2/3 cups, then I gradually added sugar, mixed again, and finally the butter until everything was blended into a crumb-like dough substance. I poured and firmly pressed this blended mix into my pie dish and threw into the over for 10 minutes or so. Pie crust done. Now onto the fruit!

crust01

Within short order, I had sliced and quartered the (pre-measured amount of) strawberries, raspberries and blueberries then taken a portion of these, placed in a bowl and mashed them to essentially a chunky pulp (almost with a ‘salsa’ like look and consistency). Additional ingredients were added to the mixture, including the orange liqueur. I then covered and set this aside for 30 minutes, at the conclusion of which I then drained and preserved the juice in a separate container. The remainder of the fruit, not mashed into pulp, was also placed in a container and into the fridge.

The cream was old hat, having whipped up a number of strawberry cream pie dishes for various functions over the last month or so. I whipped up the heavy cream for a bit, then added in powered sugar, mascarpone cheese and vanilla as directed, until it thickened and held peaks. The spooned half the cream into my now cooled crust, spread a layer of the pulp’d fruit, then spooned in the rest of the cream. Into the fridge the pie went, until the next day, although you really only have to leave it in for 3-4 hours or so. I opted to leave it in overnight as experience has taught me the longer the better, but that’s just me!

THE NEXT DAY…

I awoke the next morning, ‘slithered’ from under the blankets, down off the bed and across the cold hardwood floor, toward the bathroom where a long hot shower awaited me before work. The night’s sleep was good, but when I woke I had an unmistakable craving for my mixed berry cream pie! Apparently I had fantasized about it all night, as did apparently my daughter, who informed me later that morning. So we agreed, that after work and school we would each take our first taste!

The day couldn’t end fast enough, and when we both got home, we pulled out the mixed berry cream pie, right now just a featureless, cream filled pie dish. I took the remaining berry mixture, dumped them on top. The I took the juice from the mashed up berries and poured it evenly across the berry-loaded creamy top of the pie. Done!

Slowly, yet with methodically and with purpose, I cut each of us a good sized slice of the pie….

OMG!

Mixed Berry Cream Pie
The cream was fantastic, blowing my wildest expectations and even besting the taste my previous attempt at a cream pie (which was DAMN good!) when I did my Strawberry Cream Pie. But the cream, as good as it was, didn’t hold a candle to the shortbread cookie crust, which my daughter and I agreed would be our GO-TO pie crust when making any cream pies.

The ‘juice’ which I had drizzled on top of the pie was a bit ‘strong’ with the Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur despite only having to add 2 Tbsp of it, so next time around I may drop that to 1 Tbsp? It was good, just a little strong, and maybe that was just me? Though I would find that surprising since I like the occasional cocktail like anyone else!

berry02

But if I were to compare this to my previously made Strawberry Cream Pie, I would have to give the nod to this Mixed Berry Cream Pie. The cream was just as good in both pies, despite slightly different tastes, but I think the use of the shortbread cookie crust wins it hands-down over the graham cracker crust used in the Strawberry Cream Pie. But YOU be the judge!

MAKES 8 SERVINGS | HANDS-ON TIME 15 MIN. | TOTAL TIME 4 HR., 30 MIN

INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE SHORTBREAD COOKIE CRUST:

  • 1 (7.25-oz.) package of shortbread cookies
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

FOR THE CREAM AND FRUIT FILLING/TOPPING:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • 1 (6-oz.) package of fresh raspberries, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. orange liqueur
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 (8-oz.) containers mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
FOR THE SHORTBREAD COOKIE CRUST:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Process cookies in a food processor 30 seconds to measure 1 2/3 cups fine crumbs. Add sugar; pulse 3 times. With processor running, pour butter through food chute; process until blended.
  2. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes)

FOR THE MIXED BERRY PIE:

  1. Prepare the Shortbread Cookie Piecrust as directed above, baking in a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Combine 1 cup strawberries, 3/4 cup blueberries, and half of raspberries in a bowl, mashing with a potato masher until chunky. Stir in granulated sugar, liqueur, and zest into mashed berries. Cover and let stand 30 minutes; drain well, reserving liquid. Cover and chill remaining berries (the ones NOT mashed)
  3. Meanwhile, beat cream, powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese and vanilla together at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  4. Spoon half of cream mixture into prepared crust. Top with drained mashed berry mixture and remaining half of cream mixture. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.
  5. Uncover, top with chilled berries, and drizzle with reserved liquid just before serving.

Recipe from The Southern Pie Book by Fan Moon

A Quick & Simple Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie

I don’t know what it is about the weather that influences my cooking and baking decisions, but this last weekend in Boise was gorgeous, which meant one thing – BBQ!

Actually, for us, when it came to getting outside and grilling, it didn’t mater what the weather was doing. I’ve grilled while raining, snowing and sweltering, it didn’t matter one bit. But, the temps being as mild as they were, and a clear, deep blue starry night overhead, getting outside over a hot fire and burgers, with the dogs milling about, seemed just right for the moment. And, for some odd reason, when I BBQ it also makes me want to throw together a pie? heheheheh….actually we all know that’s a lie as I ALWAYS want to make a pie, I just use that as an excuse so I’m not baking every other day!

I was still riding high on last project – the Strawberry Cream Pie, which was an astounding hit, so I wanted to ride that wave a little longer before tackling another cream pie project. What to make….

Well, the wife had just recently purchased me a cast iron skillet, as I have been yearning to have one after we ‘misplaced’ our old one some years back, so I thought to myself, why not a skillet pie?

I had recently come across a skillet apple pie recipe by Michelle at The Couponing Couple about a week or so ago, so this seemed the opportune moment to try my hand at it, plus it provided a great chance to ‘season’ up my new skillet and indoctrinate it properly to my kitchen!

I had never baked a skillet apple pie but after having looked at the recipe and instructions over at The Couponing Couple, I knew right away that this was something I wanted to try because it was made different than any other apple pie I have tried.

Skillet Apple Pie
Skillet Apple Pie
I used my own homemade flaky buttered crust recipe from (Completely Delicious), that I have used for virtually every pie dish, and had that chilling in the fridge hours before I started. I had also previously picked up 7 granny smith’s (the original recipe called for 5-6 medium Granny Smith’s but because I was using a slightly larger skillet, I opted for a little more) as well.

You can find the complete recipe and baking instructions here, however I will point out that the part I found interesting was the melting of butter and mixing it with brown sugar in the skillet, THEN laying the bottom crust OVER that before dumping in your sliced apples. It was a way different method of making a pie than I have ever done, which is what intrigued me the most about this recipe. In any case, head over to The Couponing Couple for the recipe when you’re ready to bake.

How did it Taste?

The flaky butter crust was as consistent as it has always been, flavorful, flaky and perfect!

The pie was also very delicious, albeit pretty sweet. With a cup of sugar mixed in with the apples before placing in the skillet and cup of brown sugar, you can imagine how sweet this recipe is. That being said, it did have a rather unique, but brown sugar/buttery infused flavor that definitely helps this dish stand out among my other pie projects.

What Might I do differently?

Next time I ‘MAY’ cut down slightly on the white sugar mixed in with the Granny Smith’s as again, the dish was pretty sweet, but that is a personal preference. The pie was one of the most flavorful I have made and If you have an iron skillet lying about, give this recipe a whirl in it. You won’t be disappointed.

Strawberry Cream Pie With Graham Cracker Crust

I had no intention of making or baking any sort of pies or desserts for at least the next several weeks, but sitting here, somewhat bored (which is highly unusual for me) and itching for something sweet, I decided, screw that, I’m gonna make something. But what?

cream001I didn’t want to tackle some of my more ‘comfortable’ dishes, meaning that I’ve made these so many times It’s become almost second nature now. Those would be my cherry and blackberry pie dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I can make and eat one of those each week (poor midsection), but if I am to grow as a pie baker, I had to broaden my horizons. So with that in mind, I decided to get after it, and step outside my comfort zone and make a Strawberry Cream Pie.

My recipe of choice was the Strawberry Cream Pie dish posted by Tina at ‘Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.’

Yea I know, it’s not Summer when you’d normally make something like this, but I figured I could use this as a test run, in preparation for perhaps a July 4th Strawberry Cream Pie celebration?

Tina’s recipe was the obvious choice for a couple reasons.

One – Thanks to her wonderful photographs, it looked fantastic!

Two – Because this was somewhat of a last second Friday night decision, her recipe also look really simple and quick to put together. SOLD!

Nobody Told Me Cream Pies Were So Fun?

What surprised me the most about putting the Strawberry Cream Pie together was how much fun I would have? I had never made a cream pie, and because these were sooooo very different from my typical fruit pie, I was like a kid with a new chemistry set!

cream002Mixing together the ingredients and then using the hand mixer (using tools are SO COOL! Yes, I am a man!), to whip the heavy cream and then the cream cheese mixture was beyond words exciting. Sounds weird but watching this concoction come together then whisking a glob onto my finger to taste, was the most fun in the kitchen I have had dilly dallying with food in a long while.

Scooping my mixture into a pre-prepared graham cracker crust dish, smoothing it out and then gently layering it with fresh strawberries was the icing on the cak…er…pie literally. It just topped off a wonderful experience making my first cream pie.

I stuck with the recipe for the most part, only straying from Tina’s wonderful process when I saw that I had many strawberries left and thought a little extra on top was the ONLY right thing to do!

As first attempts go, this one was a great start, to what I know will be a relentless quest to perfection! Now where’s my fork!

strawberry-cream-pie-recipe

Pie Addict’s First National Pie Day 2015

Today is National Pie Day in America, and it is the first National Pie Day for The Pie Addict! As always there’s so much I want to do and STILL have to do to truly become the Pie Master I hope to be, so what project to plan this weekend in honor of National Pie Day 2015! hmmm…

My goal as I’ve stated before in this journey was to master making fruit pies, then on to cream pies and finally make my way to savory meat pies like chicken and beef pot pies. My daughter has eagerly sought to influence my decisions as to what pie should come next and being that I am still engaged in the ‘fruit pie’ phase of the plan she has vehemently opted for a Strawberry Pie every waking chance she gets. I have countered her ‘demands’ with a short and direct ‘Summer time’ answer, although I am leaning more and more towards maybe trying to throw a Strawberry Pie together only because a special moment like National Pie Day DEMANDS special sacrifices!

The Strawberry Pie recipe at Try Anything Once has caught my eye, and it may well be the one I will tackle come the weekend, but before I move this direction I’d like to know what others are thinking for National Pie Day 2015? What’s YOUR big pie baking project for this special weekend?

As American as Apple Pie… American IS as American DOES!

Sorry, I let my ‘terrible’ half get the better of me just now. It’s just that after having just read this nonsensical piece by Nathan Heller titled PIE: It’s gloppy, it’s soggy, it’s un-American, my initial reaction after having muddled through this ridiculous argument was to put it mildly, not for the feint of heart. However, I have taken a step back and now as my blood pressure slowly levels out, am ready to respond to such pointlessness.

History Tells Us…

As American as Apple Pie. If you’ve been around any length of time you have probably heard this statement at one point or another. Well, Heller goes on this historical tirade arguing that pie is NOT American at all, but in fact originated from ‘across the pond’ so-to-speak and we essentially ‘adopted’ it as our own here in America. I hate to put anything from Heller’s article on my blog but to belabor my point:

Pie is an interloper trading on a false history and a tangle of confusion about its cultural role. Its past is unremarkable and un-American. As you may recall from your middle-school history books, many accoutrements of Western life first appeared in Egypt and then spread to the Romans via Greece. Prophylactics are a notable example. Pie is another one. The pies of the ancients, rather than being oozing desserts, were combinations of savory foods baked in a pot made of tough dough. (In our evolutionary tree of Western cooking, pies, tellingly, share a branch with the most hit-or- missof all edible things, the casserole.) This crust-pot baking method spread through Europe and gained popularity through the Middle Ages, since the dough shell, called a bake-meat (later, just as appetizingly, a coffin), allowed meats to stew without losing moisture. It also helped seal off the meal and slow down spoilage. “For hundreds of years,” Janet Clarkson points out in her jaunty account of pie development, Pie: A Global History, “it was the only form of baking container—meaning everything was pie.” Pie culture grew with the advent of modern pastry dough during the 16th century, at which point cooks in more ambitious kitchens started to experiment with sweeter fillings. (Queen Elizabeth is said to have eaten some of the first fruit pies.) This is the true origin of our pie tradition. Early apple pies weren’t American and sweet at all. They were unsugared, tough, and manufactured by the British.

pie-historyWhat is American? America, is a land of IMMIGRANTS. IMMIGRANTS who migrated from every corner of the planet. IMMIGRANTS who have brought with them their traditions, their culture, their language…THEIR FOOD! THIS IS AMERICA MR. HELLER!! The country is a patchwork everything planet Earth has to offer. That is the beauty of the country! Everything that we are is from somewhere else!

So just because you find pie very ‘foreign’ doesn’t make it any less American, and I’m sure there are millions who would back that notion up.

The Great Thing About Food

In the end, the great thing about food, especially in America, is that there is such a HUGE variety of it. We are fortunate enough to have access to many great dishes and recipes from around the world right here within the U.S. and NO other country can boast such a claim. So if Mr. Heller detests pie that’s his choice, but BOOOO on him! He’s got me so upset I’m going DEVOUR a warm slice of BLACKBERRY PIE just to spite him!

Mini Peach Pie Recipe

I don’t know if it’s because I’m suffering through the cold winter days or just plain love the smell of peaches, but I have been on a peach pie kick since the beginning of these chilly days in Boise. But since I’ve already tackled my Winter peach pie I figured I give my mini pie dishes a whirl now with a mini peach pie recipe from For the Love of Cooking.

You know how it is when you get a new ‘toy’ and how anxious you are to play with it? Yea well that’s how it was with me and the set of four mini pie dishes I received for Christmas from the wife.

To tell the truth, I really wanted to throw together a 9-inch pie, and actually ended up talking myself into making mini pies, but am I glad I did. Making and baking a mini pie is a little different than baking a regular sized 9-inch dish, and there are certainly things I learned on this first attempt that I’ll share below.

Ready…Let’s Do This!

Again, this was my first attempt so I opted for a relatively simple mini peach pie recipe. I scoured my favorite resource – Pinterest, and happened upon the recipe listed on For The Love of Cooking.

Although the original recipe called for a lattice pie top, since this was only going to get ‘devoured’ by yours truly, a regular pie top would do. Quickly and now almost effortlessly, I whipped together my flaky buttered pie crust and got started on mixing together the ingredients for the pie filling.

Quick Funny Note

I originally was going to throw together a berry pie of some sort, maybe another raspberry or blackberry, but when I ran to the local grocer to grab a few bags of the frozen fruit, the only thing on ‘sale’ were the frozen peaches, so long story short, I chose those. My 9yr. old daughter was accompanying me at the time, and so when my wife asked why I decided on peaches, my daughter belched out… ‘THEY WERE ON SALE!’

Anyways, per the recipe, I kicked on the oven to 350 degrees, and threw together the now ‘thawed’ peaches, white and brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Then I gently mixed the ingredients.

I rolled out my pie crust, and used the mini pie dishes, turned upside down to cut out enough round shapes to create top and bottom pie crust for 4 mini pie dishes. Positioning and pressing the bottom pie crusts firmly into the mini pie dishes, I then scooped enough peach filling to fill each of the 4 mini pie dishes.

pie-crust

Slapping on the pie crust tops, cutting a few vents and sprinkling a little nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar, I slid the four pies into the oven. I didn’t have any eggs on hand when I made the pies so I couldn’t egg wash them like I wanted but next time for sure.

I baked the pies for the 30 minutes or so, but since the top crust hadn’t browned I actually ended up keeping the pies in for at least 40 minutes give or take a few. Juice had started to bubble from the vents and some from the edges, so out they came.

Fabulous! The pies tasted wonderful, although maybe baking a little over, bubbled out more of the juices than I would of originally wanted, so although not ‘dry’ there wasn’t much juice which was kind’ve a downer. But even more than the taste (surprisingly), was the mere fact that the mini pies were THE perfect portion. Scarfing one down was no different than having a slightly larger than normal slice from a 9 inch dish.

finished-pie

What I’ll Do Different Next Time

Some things I will do differently next time around…

  • Egg wash. I originally wasn’t BIG on egg wash. Not that I didn’t like it but that it didn’t bother me much whether the crust was brown or not. Over the last several months of baking however, I have come to appreciate a nicely browned and golden pie crust. Now I can hardly do without it!
  • More juice. This may be more of a result of baking the pie beyond the stated 30 minutes and having some of the juice bubble out but it may be because I just didn’t have much juice to begin with. In any case, I like juice, fruit pies are juicy, and that’s just the way it is!
  • Different Filling. Lastly, as I mentioned above, I initially wanted to do a mini blackberry or raspberry pie recipe, as I am feeling after this first experience that maybe a smaller fruit for the filling would produce more juice? I don’t know for sure so I’ll have to try it out and let you know!

Here is the recipe I used on For The Love of Cooking

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!