Archive for ‘Pies’

May 5, 2011

A Tale of Two Pecan Pies

2 Pecan Pies

Yes, I know it’s not the ‘season’ for pecan pie, but when I found out that it was my good friend Bree’s birthday last week and that pecan pie is her absolute favorite dessert, I just had to make it. Never mind that I had never made pecan pie before, much less tasted pecan pie, but I was pretty determined to make a good one! One problem that I’ve always had with pecan pie is that my husband is deathly allergic to nuts, so I try to avoid using them in the kitchen. However, since we’re moving this weekend, I figured that a few pecans in a kitchen that we would no longer be using couldn’t kill him (right?).

I had planned to only make one pecan pie (recipe #1), but when I took it out of the oven, it just didn’t look right. I had followed the instructions to a tee, but it looked like it may have been slightly overbaked. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I knew I couldn’t bring a dried out pie to a friend’s birthday, so I searched for a second recicpe, and thus found recipe #2. Following this one’s directions carefully, I came out with a much lighter looking pie. I ended up taking both to Bree’s house for a ‘pie taste test’. Her husband actually preferred the first recipe pie and Bree preferred the second, so I guess there really was no clear winner, but they both said the pies were great. My recommendation if you’re making the first recipe is to keep a close eye on it if you don’t want an overly dark pie. Otherwise, enjoy!

Pecan Pie #1

Ingredients

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo corn syrup
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I used the pie dough from this recipe)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, melt the butter, but don’t let it brown. Mix in the sugar and corn syrupand cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Stir in the eggs. Mix well. Stir in the pecans.
Pour into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour or until firm when shaken.

Source: Sara’s Secrets – Food Network

Pecan Pie #2

Ingredients:
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I used the pie dough from this recipe)
4 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. with rack set in lowest position.
Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of pie plate. Crimp with fingertips. Transfer dough-lined pie plate to refrigerator.
Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth; mix in pecans. Pour mixture into chilled pie crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling jiggles slightly in the center when gently shaken, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool pie completely in plate, 5 to 6 hours. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Source: Martha Stewart

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February 21, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I usually like to end the week with a sweet post, but given that I was post call last Friday, this post never made it to the Internet. Also, since we’re having round two of Midwest blizzard 2011, I thought a dessert post with fruit was in order to remind us that spring really will be here soon despite what the weather says (the groundhog said spring is coming, and he can’t possibly be mistaken right?).

My husband doesn’t like many desserts…in fact, he likes exactly two desserts: ice cream, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Every year, for his birthday, he asks for strawberry rhubarb pie. Easy request right? Not so much given that we live in the very cold and often snowy North where rhubarb doesn’t exist between November and March. A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law began giving me bags of rhubarb from her garden to freeze in the summer to make her son pie for his birthday, hence this strawberry-rhubarb pie post in February.

This is my tried and true recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie. I have been using it for quite a while and it makes a delicious pie that is not too sweet or too tart. Best of all? It gets the husband seal of approval.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

1 deep-dish 9 inch prepared pie crust (1/2 recipe of this basic pie dough)
4 cups (about 1 1/4 pounds) rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch piece
2 cups strawberries, quartered
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Crumble Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

For the crumble topping – in a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Work in the butter with your hands, until large moist clumps form. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lowest level. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb and strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle with Crumble Topping. Place pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Place pie in oven; reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until topping is browned and crust is lightly browned, about 1 1/2 hours. (If topping or crust begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil.) Cool completely before serving.

Sources: Adapted from: Very Culinary and Baking Illustrated

January 7, 2011

Cranberry-Blueberry Pie

 

Cranberry and Blueberry Pie

Alright, I know. The holidays are over. That doesn’t mean though that a girl can’t enjoy some pie right?

I have a strong conviction that a week without dessert would be completely incomplete. We work hard. Not just Francis and I;  but we, people in general. We wake up early and stay at work late. We take short lunch breaks and we often take work home with us. We live with stress strapped to our backs…financial stress, family stress, work stress. We deserve dessert. At least once a week. Doctor’s  orders (okay, I’m not a doctor yet, but give me a few months).

I found this pie in the November issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. I know it’s supposed to be a ‘Thanksgiving pie’ but eating cranberries and blueberries in January doesn’t make them any less delicious. The flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with the fruit will warm up any cold winter day.  The crust is my go-to pie crust; a Williams Sonoma recipe that I have been using for years and has never failed me.

Again, I feel like I must apologize for my picture quality. Not my best work, but what can I say? When there’s a pie to be eaten, food photography doesn’t become my highest priority.

Happy Friday! Bon Appetit!

Cranberry and Blueberry Pie

Ingredients

For the crust
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbsp butter – cold (2 sticks), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Approximately 6 Tbsp very cold water
Heavy whipping cream (for brushing)
Grated nutmeg (for sprinkling)

For the filling

16 oz frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
12oz (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel

Directions

For the filling

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil, stirring occasionally, 12 to 14 minutes. Continue to boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer berry mixture to glass or ceramic dish; cool completely (mixture will thicken). Remove cinnamon sticks.
This can be made three days ahead and chilled.
For the crust:

To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.
Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.
Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl.
Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
Add the water 1 Tbsp at a time and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together. 

Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and cut the dough in half.
Pat each half into a round, flat disk. Working with one disk at a time, lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin.
Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.
Line a 9 inch glass pie dish with the first flat disk.Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the second disk.Roll out the second dough disk into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembly

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the filling in the pie dish, spreading it with a rubber spatula.
Roll out second dough disk to 13×10-inch rectangle. Cut dough lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide strips (11 to 12 strips).
Arrange half of dough strips across top of filling, spacing evenly apart.
Form lattice by arranging remaining dough strips at right angle to first dough strips and weaving strips, if desired. Trim off excess dough from strips.
Brush edges of bottom crust lightly with whipping cream. Press dough strip ends to adhere to bottom crust edges.
Fold edges of bottom crust up over strips, pinching to seal.
Crimp edges decoratively. Brush edges and lattice lightly with cream.
Sprinkle lattice strips lightly with nutmeg. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling thickly, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool pie on rack.

Source: Pie: Bon Appetit Nov 2010 – Cranberry Blueberry Pie
Pie Crust: Basic Pie Dough – Williams Sonoma