Tag Archives: i like pie

Food on Friday: Two pies edition

Yesterday’s post wasn’t 100% fictional. I did, in fact, make two pies in the morning: a pumpkin pie made from a sugar pumpkin I processed a week or so ago, and an apple-blackberry pie that included blackberries I picked and froze this summer. I don’t bake all that often these days except when I’ll be sharing what I make with other people, so Thanksgiving was a good excuse to try out a new pie crust recipe I’d been wanting to try. Dan insists Thanksgiving isn’t complete without pumpkin pie, and my mom insisted I bring a fruit pie, so these were my two contributions to the family’s Thanksgiving meal.

Pumpkin pie (from a sugar pumpkin), adapted from standard Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe

One sugar pumpkin, processed and water squeezed out of the flesh (should leave about 1.5-2 cups of pumpkin)
1 14 oz can evaporated milk (full, low, or nonfat)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 unbaked pie shell (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, spices, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until filling is set and no longer runny. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Apple-blackberry pie, loosely adapted from apple pie recipe in red plaid Better Homes & Gardens cookbook

3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3/4-1 cup frozen or fresh blackberries
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
*3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
double crust pie recipe (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients and let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the bottom pie crust in a deep dish pie pan. Pour apple/blackberry mixture into pie pan and add top crust, crimping edges. Poke several holes in the top of the pie with a fork. Slide a baking sheet or pizza pan onto the bottom rack to catch potential drips and the pie onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until top crust is golden and juice is bubbling up through the top of the pie. Serve with freshly whipped cream, if desired.

* You can increase the sugar up to 1.5 cups if you like a sweeter pie. I like my fruit pies to be more tart and offset the tartness with whipped cream

Recently, I saw something on America’s Test Kitchen on PBS about using vodka in place of some of the water in a standard pie crust recipe because alcohol will help wet the ingredients but won’t cause the gluten in the flour to develop, which helps keep the crust flakier and less dense/heavy. I was excited to try this out, and found a recipe for vodka pie crust (the alcohol bakes out and doesn’t flavor the crust at all). After sampling both of my pies last night, I feel the experiment was a smashing success, and I plan to use alcohol in place of some of the water from now on.

Recipe for single pie crust (will make enough for single crust pie, plus some extra)

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
small amounts of pie-appropriate spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc.)(optional)
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons of cold vodka
2 tablespoons cold water

Store all ingredients in refrigerator or freezer or chill them before using. In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, sugar, and spices if using. Using a pastry blender, cut cold fat into flour mixture until the largest lumps are the size of small peas. Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove and pour vodka and water over mixture, then use a rubber spatula to mix liquid into dry ingredients until just holding together. Gather into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for an hour (or up to 24 hours) or, if time constrained, in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool it down again and let it rest.

Cover a flat surface with waxed paper and sprinkle with flour. Plop crust dough onto floured surface and sprinkle with more flour. Using a rolling pin and working as fast as possible, roll out until crust is about 1/8 inch thick and big enough to fit in a pie pan, adding small amounts of additional flour if needed to keep dough from sticking to rolling pin. You will see pieces of fat that are not worked all the way into the dough and this is a good thing. Lift waxed paper and flip crust into pie pan, then peel waxed paper away. Trim overhang edges of dough (you can use them for other small projects, like cinnamon sugar crust twists) and crimp remaining dough. Fill and bake with your filling of choice.

Recipe for double crust pie

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons sugar
3/4 tsp salt
small amounts of pie-appropriate spices (optional)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
6 tablespoons cold butter flavored vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons cold vodka
3 tablespoons cold water

Follow as above for single crust recipe, but divide dough roughly in half before rolling, using larger ball for bottom crust. When bottom crust is in pan, add filling of choice. Roll out and add top crust over filling. Trim overhang and crimp edges, making sure to poke holes in the top of the pie with a knife or fork so steam can escape.


The Creepy Coke Room

Over the weekend, Dan and I flew to San Diego so we could attend my cousin’s wedding (and so I could do the flowers for said cousin’s wedding). It was a very nice wedding, about as Jesus-y as the last one, and thankfully the ceremony wasn’t overly long. The wedding itself took place in Julian, which is in the foothills east of San Diego proper. I don’t know what I was expecting, weather-wise, but I certainly was not expecting it to be quite as cold (below freezing on Saturday night with corresponding temps in the high 30s at 2 PM Saturday afternoon) or as wet as it ended up being. The ceremony was supposed to be outside, which is understandable considering how beautiful the place was, but holy cow was it ever cold. Thankfully, they made the decision on Sunday morning to move the whole shebang into the Pine Hills Lodge.

The road to Pine Hills

In lieu of payment for my work, my cousin and her fiance paid for our flights down to San Diego and for us to stay at a separate inn in Julian (not where the wedding was held, as that was booked). When we got to the place with the back seat of the rental car full of hydrangea buckets, we were let into this teeny tiny crackerbox of a room that was barely big enough for a full-sized bed, a desk, and a shelving unit; railroad-style bathroom squeezed in along the side. I spent several hours both Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning working on flower stuff, popping personal flowers into the minifridge as I finished each boutonniere or flower girl wreath, and asking Dan to hold the glue gun for me because there was no surface on which I could set it down while I was working. The place was MINISCULE. Had it not been so cold, I probably would have worked outside, but as it was I could hardly feel my hands after being outdoors for only a couple of minutes.

Even smaller than it looks in the photo

For most of the day/evening, two buckets lived in the bathroom and the other two between the bed and the TV. I walked back and forth at least 29385798745 times to grab the things I needed, using the top of the mini fridge and the shelving units and the desk and the comfy chair and the bathroom sink as work space. It was by far the smallest space I’ve ever had available for doing wedding flowers, but it all worked out in the end.

At least they made the bathroom smell nice

Dan got to explore the town of Julian while I was making pretties, and he brought me back a piece of apple pie that I heated up in the little toaster oven. Julian’s apple pie is sort of like the fudge in Estes Park or the fudge on Mackinac Island: it’s the thing that everyone goes to the town to eat. I guess Julian grows a lot of apples, because not only were there apple pies sold everywhere, there was also apple cider, both soft and hard. I had my doubts about the pie (how good can a piece of apple pie BE, anyway?) but became a convert from one bite. I suspect they are all laced with crack.

Other than the bizarrely cold weather and the pretty fall color, what I will remember most about the quick trip to Julian is the decor in our wee room. It was all coke. Coke, coke, coke. Coke napkin dispensers and coke advertisements and coke cups, glasses and mugs. Coke with Santa and coke with small children.

Pretty much everything in the room was Coke-related

How about a nice frosty mug of Coke?

Coke made Santa, so Santa shills for Coke

Even the bathroom was stuffed with Coke-iness

You know you want one.


Even a coke trash can.

I must admit, for a room that small to be crammed with THAT much coke memorabilia was more than a little creepy. I started to wonder what might happen if you tried to drink a Pepsi in there. Probably the spirits would come out of the advertisements and eat your face, is what.

So far

Nine boutonnieres
Three corsages
Two flower girl hair wreaths
One bride’s bouquet
One toss bouquet
Three bridesmaid bouquets

Two of 17 vases lined with ti leaves in preparation for centerpieces and large arrangements

Still to go:
15 vases need to be lined with ti leaves
19 arrangements
One large ceremony piece, which will depend in large part on whether the wedding is indoors or outdoors tomorrow.

It’s cold as hell. We’re in Southern California, east of San Diego, and it’s going to get down to freezing tonight.

I am tired.

Highlights: apple pie, hydrangea fun, sparkly things.

Charming Billy

The last couple of weeks of June, I watched as the sour pie cherries on the tree outside a business on my route to/from work went from zero to bright red. I waited and waited and watched and sampled and then, the first week of July, just before we went on our trip, I sprang into action.

It was after work one day, hot and dusty, and I asked Dan to accompany me to the tree. I brought a reusable plastic container and hoped I’d be able to fill it with only the gleanings from the branches that stuck over the fence. (Most of the tree, and therefore most of the cherries, were out of reach of passers-by.) First I picked, and then Dan picked what I couldn’t reach, and each cherry plopped a satisfying plop into the container. I nabbed every cherry that seemed ripe, and Dan grabbed every cherry he could reach, and we ended up with several cups of cherries.

We walked home, stolen fruit in hand, and I washed, pitted, and stemmed the cherries, then set them out individually on trays to freeze. My original intention had been to use them right away, but this summer was hot, hot, hot. I think we maybe only turned on the oven two or three times in three months.

Once the cherries were frozen, I dumped ’em into a ziplock and there they sat, mocking me each time I pulled out a handful of walnuts or got ice for my drink. “Use us,” they purred. “You know you want us. It is our destiny!” “Quiet, you,” I told them. “It’s still too hot for the oven.”

It was too hot all through the parts of July that we were home, and it was too hot all through August. On September 1 I awoke to what felt a bit like a change in season, a crispness to the air, and decided I’d make a cherry pie on Friday. Except Friday, and then Saturday, and then Sunday, were all far too hot to consider the prospect of the oven. Colorado weather teased me, keeping that sour cherry pie just out of reach, each red beauty icy and tantalizing when I’d open the freezer door.

I decided enough was enough, and yesterday afternoon it wasn’t miserably hot, so I pulled the cherries out of the freezer, tossed ’em with some sugar, some corn starch, and a wee bit of salt, and let them sit and defrost for over an hour.

Meanwhile, I made a pie crust and stuck it in the fridge. I decided on this recipe, though I did tweak it a bit. Once the filling was pink and squishy, I squelched it into the crust and used the oat/almond topping from the recipe, and then I shoved it in the oven for about an hour.

Except about 50 minutes in, I started smelling something…burnt-ish. And then I cursed myself for forgetting to stick a cookie sheet under the pie. I hastily shoved one onto the bottom rack, but it was too late for the hapless goo left to burn on the bottom of the oven. Yum.

After dinner, Dan and I each had a piece of purloined cherry pie. It was one of the best pies I’d ever made.

Even Weebl and Bob are impressed with Obama

To add to my husband’s videos, here’s another tasty link for you.

Mmm, pie!

I like pie.

That, right there, is my motto. I discovered it thanks to a link on a message board to weebl and bob. Nothing better than pie.

Last weekend, it was really, really cold. We harvested all our basil and tomatoes on Saturday night in order to get some use out of them because it was supposed to freeze. Dan made homemade pasta sauce and I baked an apple pie. Actually, I baked an apple pie and an apple turnover type thing because I prepared too many apples. For some reason, the apples all disintegrated (first time that’s ever happened to me!) during baking and so the pie is more like an applesauce pie, but it still tastes really good. Here’s how it went.

7 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
lemon juice to prevent browning

Prepare apples and toss with the other stuff.

This made too many apples for the pie so I decided to make extra crust and bake them into a pie pan-less pie turnover-y thing. Next time I’ll use only 5 or 6 apples.

Crust (I winged it, increasing proportions of my usual pie crust recipe, and also using some whole wheat flour):

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
whatever spices sound good (I used some cinnamon and some nutmeg)
5 1/3 tbsp butter-flavored vegetable shortening (I keep mine in the freezer)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
enough cold water to get it to stick together

Sift flour/spices together, then use a pastry blender to cut in fat until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water by tablespoon and toss with fork until the dough all starts to stick together a little. This was hard to work with. There’s probably a reason why you’re only supposed to make 2 crusts’ worth at a time (and I essentially made 3).

Divide into thirds. Roll out each third on a floured surface, adding flour to dough and rolling pin as necessary. Put bottom crust in deep dish pie pan. Add apples until pie is brimming. Add top crust and pinch sides to seal crust. Poke some holes in the top. With remaining crust, put remaining apples on one side of third crust and fold over the top, sealing edges with a fork. Bake both pies at 350 for 45 minutes or until top of pie is browning and it smells done.

Luckily, though I winged the crust and came up with the crazy turnover idea for the leftover apples, it turned out to be really tasty. I may start using whole wheat flour in my crusts from now on because the crust had a lot more flavor than when I’ve just used white flour.