Everyone Loves Pie: Week 8

We’re having a “Mexican themed” potluck at work today, so I knew 1) that I’d be bringing a pie (duh!) and 2) it had to sorta mesh with Mexican food.  Pie and Mexican food?  Yeah, I thought it was impossible, too.  Until the thought occurred to me:

Mexican food = tequila = limes = KEY LIME PIE!

Boom.  Basically I’m a genius.

I kind of mixed and matched recipes so I’m not linking to another recipe, although I will give Martha some of the credit.

week8Week 8: Key Lime Pie

for the crust:

18 whole graham crackers, crushed in a food processor

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

for the filling:

1 tbs lime zest

1/2 cup lime juice (fresh squeezed)

4 whole egg yolks

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the crushed graham crackers, sugar and melted butter in a large bowl.  Stir until well combined.  Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Mix lime zest, lime juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 15 minutes.  The center of the pie should be set, but still quiver when the pan is nudged.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour—more if possible. Serve with whipped cream.

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 7

A dear friend’s uncle passed away two weeks ago.  Anytime someone in my life goes through this sort of loss, it stirs up the memories and emotions of losing my own loved ones.

My first true experience with losing someone close to me was when my dad passed away.  I remember in those moments immediately after he passed, I felt relief.  Relief that he was no longer in pain.  Relief that cancer was no longer eating away at his body.  Relief that having to sit by and watch him suffer was over.  It’s strange how the human mind works and what range of emotions it can go through.  If I knew then how much I’d miss him today, I think I would’ve felt differently.

Soon it’ll be four years since we had to say goodbye.  It’s gone by in a blink, but at the same time, every day without a loved one is like an eternity.  If I had another day, there are some things I’d like to tell my dad.  I’d show him my house, and the chickens.  I think he’d get a kick out of that.  I’d give him a big hug and tell him thanks for being my dad.

Maybe I’d make him a pie.  Something with berries.  Still warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

I knew this week’s pie would be going to my friend and her family as they said goodbye to their loved one.  And I was determined to make something with apples in it since apple pie is, to me, the “comfort food” of the pie world.  I forgot to take a picture of the pie before sending it off, but I was told it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

A pie is just a small gesture, but I’m glad I was able to do it.

Week 7: Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie

Recipe via Baked by Rachel

all-butter crust for a single 9-inch pie crust

4 large apples, peeled and sliced thin

3 tbs flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries

for the topping:

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter

Position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine sliced apples and cranberries.  Add the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Add to prepared pie pan.

In a medium bowl, combine topping ingredients and work with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.  Spoon the mixture over the entire pie.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 60-70 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack  for 2-3 hours before serving.

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 6

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa

week6Week 6: Strawberry Pie

slightly adapted from recipe via SAVEUR

all-butter crust for a double 9-inch pie crust

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 lb strawberries, halved

1/2 cup plus 1 tbs sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 tbs orange juice

1 tbs orange zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

egg wash for pastry top, 1 egg whisked with 1 tbs water

Position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan.  Roll other pastry out and use small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut into hearts.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a bowl, toss together salt, berries, ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, juice, zest, and vanilla; set filling aside.

Once filling has rest for 20-30 minutes, it’s time to assemble the pie.  Transfer the filling into the pie pan, mounding the filling towards the center.  For the first row of hearts, brush backside with egg wash and apply the hearts around the perimeter of the pie crust, applying slight pressure to make sure they adhere.  This is the first row.  Continue to place the hearts by layering them in between the gaps.

Once all hearts are placed, brush the entire pie with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake until golden and bubbling, about 1 hour. (If crust begins to brown before pie is finished baking, cover with foil until pie is done).

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours.  Serve at room temperature.

PS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 5

This week’s pie was my own creation.  I wanted to be frugal and use what I already had around the house.  Canned blackberries in the pantry?  Blackberry pie = DONE.

And okay, I’ll be honest: I was going to use the recipe included on the can of the blackberries.  It called for the syrup to be reserved and thickened with corn starch.  About five minutes into stirring the syrup over the stove with CORN MEAL and no thickening happening, I realized my own error.  It was right about that time that I slapped my palm to my forehead, took a deep breath, and decided to go rouge.  Thus, my own creation with what I had handy.

I got to try a slice before sending it home with my brother.  It turned out better than I expected, considering I had winged it.  And it got me excited for summer.  Bring on the berry pies!

week5Week 5: Blackberry Pie

all-butter crust for a double 9-inch pie crust

2 cans of blackberries preserved in sugar, drained (if I made this again, I’d use 3 cans)

1/8 cup of pearl tapioca

1/2 cup sugar, plus 1tbs for sprinkling the crust before baking

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

egg wash for pastry top, 1 egg whisked with 1 tbs water

Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan

In a large bowl, mix together blackberries, tapioca, sugar, and lemon juice.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the filling has rested, transfer to the pie pan.  Dot the filling with cubed butter.

Cover the pie with top crust and cut slits for steam.  Alternatively, you can cut the second pie crust into 1 inch strips to create a lattice top.  Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbs of sugar.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

* I’m sure this pie would be elevated to even more deliciousness with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Not that I know anything about that sort of thing.

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 4

People!  We are at the 1 month mark!!!  Where did this last month go?!?!

Ok, enough exclamation marks.  But seriously, where did the time go?  Life is just going by way too fast these days.  It’s kinda scary.

I started seeds this weekend.  I have big plans for this year’s garden and it’s going to be awesome.  My laundry room is full of seed trays right now.  When I watered tonight, I noticed that my Marigold’s are already germinating.  How happy that makes me!

This week’s pie was yummy with a capital “Y”!  I was looking for something easy to make and I went looking for inspiration on one of my favorite blogs, Joy the Baker.  Her blog is full of awesome recipes.  If you need some inspiration, just take a look at her recipe archive.

I was looking for something fairly easy to make and this pie jumped out at me.  While making it, my mouth was seriously watering.  It smelled so good.  Fact of life – you can never go wrong with peanut butter.

Since it smelled so good while making, I couldn’t help but dive into it after it chilled in the fridge for a  few hours.  It’s totally not the plan to keep a pie for myself, but seriously, I couldn’t help it.  Whoops!

In fact, I’m going to go enjoy a slice right now!

week4Week 4: No-Bake Peanut Butter Tart

Recipe via Joy the Baker

For the crust:

12 double graham crackers

6 tbs unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup natural peanut butter

6 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup plus 2 tbs sweetened condensed milk

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor (or however you see fit).  Make sure there are no large chunks remaining.  Add the melted butter and stir thoroughly, making sure all of the crumbs are coated.  Pour the graham cracker and butter mixture into a 9 inch tart shell.  Press the mixture along the sides of the tart pan and along the bottom until evenly coated.  Place the tart pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine the peanut butter, softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Blend the three ingredients until thoroughly incorporated, but don’t over blend.

In a separate bowl, whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks.  Add the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and fold together until well incorporated.

Remove the tart pan from the freezer and spoon in the peanut butter filling.  Spread evenly.

Whip up the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks and add to the top of the peanut butter filling.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  Top with salted mixed nuts and serve.

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 3

This week went by in a blur.  So much so, I almost forgot to post this in time.

All I’m going to say about this pie is that it was all sorts of goodness.  I brought it to work to share and everyone really enjoyed it.  There’s something really special about how mother nature dictates the produce of each season.  In Winter, the coldest, most miserable months (at least to me), citrus delivers the vitamins we need and hope for sunnier days ahead.  This pie totally captures that.

Make this pie one day.  It’s worth it.

week3Week 3: Lemon Chess Pie

Recipe via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

all butter crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, partially prebaked

zest of 1 lemon

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 tbs stone-ground cornmeal

1 tbs flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

5 tbs unsalted butter, melted

5 large eggs

2/3 cups heavy cream

7 tbs fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

3 tbs fresh orange juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, stir together the lemon zest, sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt.  Use a wooden spoon to stir in the melted butter, then the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Mix briskly until the filling is thick and light colored.  Stir in the heavy cream, followed by the lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla extract.

Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30-35 minutes through baking.  The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still wobbles slightly; it should be lightly golden on top.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 3-4 hours.  The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.

Everyone Loves Pie: Week 2

I totally failed last week at this pie project.  I had the best of intentions, I really did.  On Sunday, I attempted to make a pie crust.  Twice.  And twice I failed.  Lots of flour and two sticks of butter later, I gave up.  You know when you have those days where nothing seems to go right?  Yeah, that was the type of day I was having.

I’ve been working a lot of overtime at work, it’s our busy season right now.  Ten+ hour days are not conducive to me being productive at home.  Before I knew it, the week was gone and here we are now.

So today I made two pies.  One for last week and one for this week.  My house smells yummy, but I’ve got two pies that need to find a home.  Any takers?

Today was a good day.  I baked, aka my idea of relaxing.  I looked through all my garden seeds that arrived in the mail yesterday.  I’m so excited about this year’s garden.  I can’t wait to get started.  I checked out a farmer’s market I hadn’t been to before.  And I’m so glad I did – pretty sure it’s my new favorite market.  There was so much to look at – fresh produce, locally baked bread, honey, jams, local meats (I spotted beef, pork, chicken, and lamb), rice, flowers, and cheese.  One booth was even selling fresh oysters.  I can’t believe I went this long without knowing about this little gem.

Last week’s and this week’s pie are more from my new favorite cookbook, The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.  I can’t get enough of it.  Obsessed.

I’ll be back later in the week with this week’s pie.  For now, hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe it serves as some inspiration for your own baking endeavors!

pie2Week 2: Maple Buttermilk Custard Pie

slightly adapted from the original recipe via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

all butter pie crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, partially pre-baked

1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbs stone-ground cornmeal

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

5 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)

1 cup buttermilk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter.  Add the vanilla extract and the sour cream and stir until smooth.  Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Add the maple syrup and buttermilk and mix until smooth.

Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-55 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30-35 minutes through baking.  The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid, but still quite wobbly.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours.  The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.