Showing posts with label pie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pie. Show all posts

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Crusty Bits

After making apple pie the other day, I, of course, had leftover crust dough, trimmed from the edges.

Sometimes, we just bake it cut into little, flat squares (about the size and shape of Wheat Thin crackers) and eat those with jam... raspberry, if we have it.  I think that's my favorite.

When I feel a little more ambitious, I make these tiny pinwheels. The emphasis on "little," rather than "ambitious," because these really are quite quick and easy.

The leftover pieces of dough are rolled together, the thickness of pie crust, into a rectangle.  The extra crust I had this time made a rectangle approximately 5 x 7 inches.

I sprinkle the dough with sugar and cinnamon, then with one of the longer sides toward the front, roll it up so there is a log about an inch or inch and a quarter thick. The log is then sliced crosswise, into 3/8 inch thick rounds, like cinnamon rolls.

You may be able to tell from the photos that I don't spend a lot of time making them pretty.  They go so fast, no one looks at them too long.  ;-)

I usually bake them at 425 degrees, during the first 10 minutes of baking the pie, just until barely browning.

Prince CuddleBunny was thrilled to find the tiny pastries on the counter when he got up.  They're his favorite use of pie crust... He thinks I should make a whole batch of crust just for these.

Do you have anything delicious you like to make of pie crust dough scraps?

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Friday, October 4, 2013

Apple Appreciation

The first priority in dealing with the many, many apples with which we've been blessed, is to thank the person who gave them to us.  His one, simple request was to have one pie.  He says he eats one pie a year, so this would fill his quota.  :-)

If I want to put my best pie foot forward, my go-to recipe came is Grandma D's.  She was the pie aficionado in my life... Also, my mom, who baked pies that are just like her mother's were:  Wonderful.

Grandma D's Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees for glass pans or convection, 450 for metal pans in non-convection baking mode
This bottom crust was for a crumb top, so the
fluting was done by the prince on the bottom crust

Prepare pastry for a double crust pie (my favorite recipe is here), and line the bottom of a pie plate with crust, leaving a bit hanging over the edge of the pan.  Save the top of the crust for later (recommended that you keep it wrapped in plastic in the fridge, but if it's not an especially warm day, I just leave it out).

Stir together:
6-8 (6 cups) tart apples, peeled (optional), pared, cored, and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (if apples aren't tart)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour*
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spread in pie crust.

Dot with
2 Tablespoons butter

Put on top crust, and seal edges by crimping together.  Make sure there are slits or other openings cut in the top crust to let steam escape.

Bake at 425/450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for approximately 45 minutes... Until you can see the filling bubbling through the pie crust openings.  Leave in the oven while cooling.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

When I was growing up, we had our apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.  My kids like, of course, a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead.

*For apple pies the year-through:  We often prepare lots of fillings to freeze when we have a windfall of apples like this one.  

I've read that tapioca works better as the filling thickener in frozen pie fillings, so when making filling for that purpose, I replace the flour with tapioca.  

I place enough filling for a single pie in a gallon-size ZipLoc bag, spread it flat, and freeze.  (Easy to stack and easy to thaw when spread flat.) When I want pie, I set the filling out on a plate or in a bowl as I make the crust (if you remove the filling when frozen, you don't lose sauce that is difficult to get out of the bag).  Place the partially thawed filling in the bottom crust.  It will take an additional 10 minutes or so of baking before it's bubbling, and ready to turn off.

Variations:  Make Apple-Cranberry Pie or Blackberry-Apple pie by mixing in a cup of the appropriate berries with the apples.

"But I, when I undress me Each night, upon my knees Will ask the Lord to bless me, With apple pie and cheese"  -  Eugene Field

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Back in the Kitchen

"What's that mysterious smell coming from the oven?" my family may have asked... but really didn't...

Motivated by how well the yard was looking, I thought I'd keep working at it through this week.  God had other plans... Apparently all of His creation in this area needed plenty of water!

So I was forced in, and probably better off for the break from yardwork.

This was Tuesday's first baking project...

I came downstairs to see that the previous night's dish doer had left one cast iron pan unwashed, and, worse, one of them soaking.  Aaargh.  Since another I have was getting pretty dry, and one lid looked rusty, I decided to do a group seasoning.  I started warming them, wiped down with Crisco, on the stove, but then moved them to a 250 oven to finish over a few hours.

Meanwhile, I hoped to improve the smell of the house, and fulfill a food need, by covering up the hot oil smell with that of baking bread.  Mostly, the smell just changed to that of oily bread, but at least the loaves don't taste like that.  

After the bread, it was on to pies.  Monday night we'd watched the TV show, Master Chef, on which they baked delicious looking apple pies.  I said, "Oh, now I want pie!"  
Prince CuddleBunny told me I could just 'make some tomorrow.'  I decided he was right, especially since last weekend, while organizing the freezer, I'd discovered some pie fillings we'd made last fall... After all, they need to be used!

Speaking of my oven... See that little silver spot in the lower left, front corner?                                                                                                          
It's supposed to be bluuuue.  But true to Wolf form, they were ready and willing to back up their product.  After I sent photos of the bare spots (1 in each cavity), the customer service rep called, and  Oven #6 (Wolf oven #3) is on the way...  He insists it's nothing I'm doing wrong, but also that this problem is unusual, especially to run into twice!  Sometimes it's not fun to be unique...  If you missed my sad oven saga, you can start at the beginning here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'd Always Wondered...

"Dot the pie filling with butter before putting on the top crust."  So many (all?) fruit pie recipes give a similar instruction.

I know I can't be the only one who's tucked (jammed) butter slices into the slits on an already topped pie... or forgotten it all together.

I was dotting away other day, when readying to host our Bible Study group for a nearly impromptu dinner by, among other things, making rhubarb and apple pies.  It suddenly occurred to me that I'd never asked, nor ever researched the reason for doing so.  I can't say I'd ever noticed the difference when I forgot, and I'd certainly never heard from my family, "It's obvious you left out the dots of butter, and we will not eat this second-rate pie!"

Maybe you already know why we're supposed to do this.  Maybe you don't care.  But today I searched the internet for the answer.

I have to say my findings are less than unanimous, or something about which I feel certain.

A lot of discussions I read had contributions that said, basically, "I never do it and never miss it."  The most popular explanation was that it 'improved taste and mouth feel.'  -I guess people have more sensitive mouths than I, but I have to say, I've never done a taste test between buttered and unbuttered pies.

I found one seemingly scientific reason for adding butter to the pies.  A contributor to named "Flutterby" reported that a canning book she has says that the butter "helps to prevent cooked fruits from foaming."  Not sure I've ever had a foaming problem with my pies, but I sure don't want it!

I think I will continue --when I remember-- to dot the pies with butter.  Pie making, after all, is a time-honored art, long practiced by loving grandmothers who were amazing bakers... like mine were.  And if it's what my grandma wrote in her favorite recipes, I'm going to do it.

Do you know of a more specific or confirmed explanation?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warm Baked Goods Beat Chilly Fall Weather

I have had the overwhelming urge to bake warm and yummy things... So Sunday I baked cinnamon rolls,  blackberry-apple pie, and bread.  Besides the chill in the air, I credit these 3 reasons:

1) The packaging on some baking sheets at Costco have the most amazing photograph of cinnamon rolls.  And not the large bakery kind,  covered in a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, but the kind that look like my mom made them... More diminutive in size, but with thin, delicate layers and the sheen of clear glaze.  The warmth and smell almost emanated from the photo, and I HAD to make some.

2) A friend on Facebook commented about the appeal of the meals described in a Dickens novel he's reading, and I asked if he recalled the breakfasts described in Farmer Boy, part of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  (It's particularly interesting to boys, by the way, since it's about the boyhood of the man who would be Laura Ingalls' husband.) The hard-working farm family described in the book had the most amazingly large breakfast feasts, including fresh pies.  There is no dessert to tempt me so easily as berry pie, and I happened to have berries in the freezer just calling to be used just that way.

3)  We were out of bread.  :-)

You had a glimpse of the pie yesterday, and this is as much as I'm going to say about it now, because I used the recipe so similar to one I've shown in From Excavator to Pastry (Pie) Chef.

The rolls were a natural off-shoot of replenishing our bread supply.  I made a bit more of our sandwich bread dough, and used half for bread (recipe and method here) and half for cinnamon rolls.  

I couldn't leave the standard filling well enough alone, but had to "healthy it up" a bit.  The bread dough was whole-grain, which was a big plus, but on top of the necessary butter and brown sugar, I added finely chopped walnuts for 'good fats' and some protein, and some Craisins for fiber and antioxidants.  Cinnamon, a must, of course, is also suspected of regulating blood sugar and helping lower LDL (bad cholesterol), which is sure helpful in something like Cinnamon Rolls.  

I don't have a photo to show, but I rolled the topped dough, starting from the wide side.  I pull toward me as I roll to stretch the dough a bit as I go, to keep the layers as thin as possible.
I had willing volunteers for the  cutting process they enjoy

Cutting the rolled dough with thread:  Slip under at the cutting spot, cross over the top, and pull tight

As we cut the roll at about 1 1/2 inch intervals, I placed the rolls in a greased baking pan.  So that they rise up instead of out, I place them
snugly next to each other.  Since this requires a pan that isn't too big, it took a couple of tries to find the right size pan... or, in this case, a combination of pans.

I baked them for approximately 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees, until the internal temperature was 200 degrees.  I went ahead with a glaze... about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, a dash of vanilla, with enough milk mixed in to bring it to the consistency of thick cream... to finish them off.

Friday, September 9, 2011

From Excavator to Pastry (Pie) Chef

Prince CuddleBunny helped Princess Sassy pick the berries, so he also wanted to help make the pies.

We used their big bowl of wild blackberries and the rhubarb we got from our friend's garden for...                                                                                                                                                      
Blackberry-Rhubarb Pie
Makes 2 pies

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Make one of your favorite 2-crust pastry/pie crust recipes.  Mine is here.  

Line 2 pie pans with a crust and finish the edge as you prefer, and set aside.

Stir together
4 cups fresh blackberries
6 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced into approximately 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (we use evaporated cane sugar)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Divide evenly into the waiting crusts.  

For the tops, you could use a full top crust, but Prince CuddleBunny requested "the top that's like crunchy balls."  In other words, a crumb or streusel-like crust.                                                                                            
So we stirred up
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp milk

and crumbled it evenly over the 2 pies.

Bake 10 minutes at the preheated 425 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour... until the centers are bubbling.  These will likely bubble over, so be prepared with a guard or baking sheet on a lower rack.  I let them cool in the oven to be sure the rhubarb is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

I had mine with my eggs for breakfast!

Previous related posts:

Work that Isn't

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Figs, Batch #1

When I got the figs from our friend, some of you were kind in giving advice on what to do with them.  Having only about 15 left, there weren't enough for preserves, so I decided to try a Fig Tart... or Galette (free-form tart), a term I just learned.  

I've never made a tart of any kind before, only pies.  I decided to search the Web for a recipe, and settled on one that seemed like a pretty good bet, since it was called "The Best Fig Tart, Ever." (Original recipe here on

Another new experience was making Frangipane, as called for in that recipe.  A blend of toasted almonds (a particular favorite of mine, anyway), butter, sugar, and egg, it was hard to resist straight out of the food processor bowl.  

My first "Duh...What idiot would do that" advice, though, is "Don't get in a hurry to toast almonds in a preheating oven," especially when you're using already sliced nuts.  After only 4 minutes in, I had to pull them out and salvage those not yet over-browned and do another half a batch to make up.  You already know not to put food in an oven before it's preheated, but in case you're ever tempted, maybe you'll remember I already tried it.

My second piece of obvious advice is one I have tried to instill in my kids, after my mother tried to instill it in me.  It obviously didn't take hold.  "Read the recipe all the way through before starting in."  For a family the size of ours, I decided to make 2 tarts.  So I, naturally, doubled everything.  I completely missed that of the original recipe, only 1/4 of the Frangipane is used, per tart, so by doubling the ingredients, I had enough for 8 full tarts!  Ah, well.  At least it's supposed to freeze and keep well.

On the first tart, I forgot the suggestion to arrange the figs in concentric circles, and they're arranged a little randomly.  
The second one looked a little better, and, looking at it, I felt happy with my first tart attempt.

Unfortunately, though, my family is not proving to be big fig fans.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the taste of the fruit right off the tree, and mixed into my plain Greek yogurt this morning... But the baked fig in the tart seemed to have less flavor, and I wasn't impressed.   Hubby said it was "OK," and the kids tried a bit of the fig and took a pass on a serving of the dessert. 

I am sad about all of that, and might try preserves with the next batch.  I'm thinking they might be nice in Bear Claws or, perhaps, Princess Eager's DIY Pop-Tarts?   Let me know if I'm headed down a wrong path...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apple-Cranberry Pie

Apple-(Cran)berry Pie
adapted from a family recipe
Makes 1 9-inch pie                                                                                                                                
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, or 425 if using a glass pie plate                                                                        
6 - 8 tart apples, pared, cored, and thinly sliced to make 6 cups (I peel the apples if pie is for special occasion/guests, but leave the peel on if making it just for casual family dessert for ease and added nutrition.)
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries or other choice of berries
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour, very slightly rounded
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                                                                                      
Pour into prepared (unbaked) Pie Crust in a 9-inch pie plate                                                                                                                                          
For topping, place the following in a bowl and stir together with a fork
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
Crumble over the top of the pie filling, distributing evenly and all the way to the edges.                                                                                                                                                            

Bake for 10 minutes at 450/425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees (325 for glass pan) and bake an additional 50 - 60 minutes, until filling is bubbling. If possible, turn off oven, and leave pie in while it cools.                                                                                                                                                                               

Serve warm or at room temperature.  This is a great pie to serve with ice cream because the tartness of the cranberries keeps the dessert, as a whole, from being overly sweet. --It can also be quite the yummy breakfast.  ;-)

Note: This recipe works great for Apple Pie, just leave out the cranberries and put on regular top crust.                                                                                                                                                     
A previous post that may be of interest:
Pie Crust

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes 1 9" pie                                                                                                                                              
In pan combine
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons corn starch
3 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                                          
Gradually add 
1 1/2 cups hot water
stirring constantly.                                                                                                                                                       
Continue stirring and cook over medium to medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cook and stir another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.                                                                                                    
Stir about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the hot mixture into
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
then return all to hot mixture. Bring back to boiling, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.                                                                                                                                                                                                
We used fresh Meyer lemons, juiced with
this Amco Lemon Squeezer
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel                                                       
Mixing well, slowly pour in
1/3 cup lemon juice                                                                                    
No need to cool the mixture before pouring into a pre-baked and cooled pastry shell. Spread meringue (see below) over lemon filling, and seal to crust edges by making sure there is good contact all around.  To make it more attractive and for better browning of the meringue, create peaks using a spatula or other tool...Touch or spread and lift.                                                                                                                                           
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool before cutting.                                                                                  
Cookbook note: For creamier filling, cook and stir first 5 ingredients for 8 minutes over low heat after mixture comes to a boil.  Blend egg yolks as directed, then cook for 4 minutes after mixture boils.

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
until soft peaks form. (When you pull up the beaters the egg whites will form peaks whose tops curl over, similar to the top of soft serve ice cream.)
Gradually add
6 Tablespoons sugar
and beat until stiff, and glossy peaks form (peaks will stay upright without curling down) with all sugar dissolved.

Previous related post:
Pie Crust

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