Archive for ‘Pie’

May 25, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Here is my story about Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, in pictures:

The End.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
adapted from my backyard

Note: I made two of these at once and just doubled everything. It’s that good.

Ingredients

Filling:
1-1.5 lbs of fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 pieces**
1 lb fresh strawberries, cut into quarters
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (more or less depending on your preference for tartness)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

**Make sure to cut the leaves off 1/2 inch down the rhubarb stalk and wash the stalks (and your hands) well. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous.

Crumble
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
dash of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set out a pie dish or 9×9 glass baking dish.

Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar in a big bowl and let sit and macerate (i.e. get juicy) for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the lemon juice (it may seem a bit stiff, don’t worry) and vanilla. Add the mixture into the fruit and stir well.

In a separate bowl, cut the butter into all the rest of the crumble ingredients, using a pastry cutter or your good old fashioned finger tips. This makes for a very buttery crumble, you could reduce by a few tablespoons if you are afraid. I am not afraid of butter.

Spoon the fruit into the bottom of the pie dish and top with crumble. The crumble should be thick and lumpy – but may not cover every inch of fruit.

Bake for about 1 hour or until the crumble is set and golden and the juices are bubbling. I recommend placing a rimmed baking sheet under your pie dish in the oven to avoid copious smoke in the case of spillage.

Note: This crumble is very juicy and quite tart. I prefer not to go overboard on the cornstarch/flour in the filling because it clouds the beautifulness of the fruit. Just jive with it, okay? It’s a crumble, not pie rocket science. If tart isn’t your thing, add more sugar or less lemon juice to the filling.

 

 

 

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May 22, 2014

Blueberry Breakfast Treat

Sometimes it is important to say an extra thank you to the people you love.

Sometimes it is fun to surprise someone in the middle of a regular old work week.

Sometimes it is good to leave a warm blueberry treat on the counter before you slip out of the house to go to work.

It will make you smile all day.

Blueberry Breakfast Surprise

Serves 1-2 people

Filling:
Large handful of blueberries (enough to fill 2 ramekins almost to the top)
1 T flour
spoonful of sugar ( to taste)
squeeze of lemon

Topping:
1 T brown sugar
2 T butter, cut into chunks
2 T flour
sprinkle of salt
dash of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 2 oven-proof ramekins. Stir together filling ingredients.

Use your fingers to combine the topping ingredients until crumbly. Divide between the two ramekins.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until juices bubble and top is golden. Surprise someone you love.

May 10, 2014

The Pursuit of Perfect Pie: Part 1

 

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time thinking about kids’ strengths and weaknesses. Use the strengths, strengthen the weaknesses, you probably can imagine how it goes.

We don’t usually get to choose our strengths and weaknesses. Like, I would really like to be good at making bread. And I’m sure that if I really really stuck with it and practiced, I would get better (kinda like those multiplication facts, kids). But after several mediocre loaves have emerged from my oven, I am coming to realize that bread is not my strength. I would also really like to be good at running long distances, remembering directions, and not leaving the oven on all night, but that’s for another post.

I am choosing pie. Pie is going to be my strength. See, I can make a pretty darn good pie. It’s not bragging, it’s just a fact. Plus I had a really really good teacher –  my Grandma Snow.

But I am not completely satisfied. I am on the quest this summer for the perfect pie. My pie adventure will include a lot of golden brown crusts, juicy berries, and full tummies.

This apple pie is my basic go-to recipe. It’s mostly from Martha, not going to lie. I have been using her pie crust for a while and I am pretty happy. It is an all-butter crust that comes together pretty easily and always has pretty good results. My Grandma Snow is a champion of the lard crust, but we will discuss that another day. This butter crust is very flavorful and bakes up very flaky and crisp. I have used it for quiches too – it can definitely go sweet or savory with just a little dash of sugar in there.

So let’s call this apple pie my baseline. It’s really solid. But I’m going to step away from it now and try some new things. (Step away from the pie.) Join me in my pursuit of perfect pie!!

First a lesson in crust.

All-Butter Crust (Or Pate Brisee if you want to get fancy)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients together a few times. Then chuck the cold butter cubes in there and pulse some more until it looks like coarse wet sand. Drizzle in 1/4 cup ice water a little at a time until the dough starts to come together. In your food processor it might not come together but have faith. If you pinch it together, the dough should hold together. If it doesn’t, keep drizzling in a little water. Dump it out on a floured counter and work the dough into a ball. Try not to work it too much, just get it together. Split the dough in half and make two discs. Put them in a tupperware or plastic wrap (if you hate the environment) and chill them for at least an hour before using, or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to go, take one of your discs out of the fridge and roll it out until it is an inch or so bigger than your pie dish. At first it will be very hard to roll but just put a little muscle in it and it will become your friend. As though dough spreads, make quick, short rolling motions from the center of the pie going out, rather than back and forth back and forth. It just is better, trust me. Slide the dough into your pie plate and use kitchen scissors to trim around the edge, leaving a mostly even 1″ overhang all the way around. If you have some uneven spots, feel free to get a patchwork thing going on. Stick it back in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust the same way, but feel free to do something fancy like cut out cute shapes. At the very least, make a few slits in the top for air to escape. Save the cute shapes on the side – we will attach them later with pie crust glue (i.e. beaten egg). Chill all pieces until you’ve got your filling ready to go.

 

Apple Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Full recipe of pie dough (see above), rolled out and chillin’ in the fridge
2 Tablespoons flour
8-12 apples (I like a variety of sweet and tart – more research on this to come!), peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar (do this to taste! I personally like a lot less sugar in my pies, and it also depends on how many apples you put in)
2 Tablespoons (a.k.a. a few squeezes) lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or a little less if you are not a huge nutmeg person)
2 Tablespoons of cold butter
1 egg, beaten
sanding sugar for top of pie (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees  F. Mix together the apples, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix em’ well so all the yummy elements get evenly distributed.

Pull your chilled pie crusts out of the fridge, and pour the apple mixture into the bottom crust. Sprinkle little chunks of cold butter across the top. Brush around the rim of the bottom crust with a little beaten egg. Carefully lay the top crust over. Tuck the top crust edge over and under the bottom crust edge and crimp all the way around. If you want to attach any little cut outs, use the beaten egg like glue. Then, brush the entire crust with a thin layer of beaten egg, and sprinkle coarse sanding sugar (or regular granulated sugar) over the top.

Bake in the 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, then turn down to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden, and juices are bubbling, about another 45-55 minutes. If the top starts to get to o brown, put some tinfoil around the edges or over the top. Let pie cool on a wire rack for at least 20-30 minutes before eating.

March 5, 2012

Hey stranger….

Okay. It’s been a while. But let’s not make this awkward. We are old friends right? Time means nothing?

Yeah, yeah, get on with the chocolate, right?

I have to say, I had all but given up on this little blog of mine. It’s not that I didn’t miss it, and it’s not that I haven’t been baking. I just thought perhaps it had run its course.

But then I got a call from a friend, who, much like this blog, I hadn’t talked to in way too long. Let’s just say she was in need of some chocolate therapy. And I realized…. so was I. So I got out my mixing bowls and my trusty camera. I don’t think I fully appreciate how much I missed full on baking until I was elbow deep in graham crackers and chocolate chips.

OH…and there’s a new addition to my baking team…. MEET ARTHUR! I’m sure he will be making some appearances…

Betsy, darling, this is for you. Sorry I couldn’t mail it.

A graham cracker crust with chunks of chocolate.

A gooey caramelly-chocolate center, studded with pecans and chocolate chips.

Topped with a sticky sweet swirl of caramel on top.

Yes. Please.

Chocolate Turtle Pie
recipe from Mrs. Field’s I Love Chocolate Cookbook

Crust:
1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
3 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
4 tbs unsalted butter; melted

Filling
5 egg yolks
2 tbs sugar
3 tbs water
3/4 c sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate; finely chopped
2 c heavy cream; scalded
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c chopped pecans
Caramel topping (like the kind you put on ice cream)

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, blend the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Stir in the milk chocolate. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a heavy medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then let boil without stirring until the syrup turns a light amber. While the syrup is boiling, brush down the sides of the pan from time to time with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the hot cream (be careful, it will bubble rapidly). Continue stirring, over heat if necessary, until all of the caramel is dissolved into the cream. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Whisk about 1/2 c. of the hot caramel cream into the eggs to warm them. Transfer the warmed eggs to the caramel cream in the saucepan. Stir in the chopped semisweet chocolate and the vanilla, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour the filling mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips on top.

Bake for about 35 min., or until the center is just set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate until firm, about 4 hrs. Drizzle caramel on top when cool.

August 18, 2010

Saturday Morning Pie.

So I needed to learn some pie-making skills. And no one makes a better pie than my Grandma Snow. I called her up and requested a lesson!

We had a lovely morning out at the Snow farm – we made a de-lish pie and I learned all sorts of great tips and tricks.

I read a lot of food blogs. I own a lot of cook books. I’m sure I could have learned all sorts of best pie-making practices right on the ole’ internet. But there is nothing like spending a beautiful Saturday morning with your grandma sharing recipes that date back decades, scrawled out on index cards –  just baking a pie.

Have I mentioned my Grandma Snow is super awesome? She and my Grandpa Snow live on a beautiful farm. I got a nice tour of their garden and got to pick out some fresh-as-can-be veggies to take home! The Snows rock. My grandma even has her own food blog – check it out!!

Thanks Grandma Snow! I can’t wait to cook and bake together again 🙂