Posts Tagged ‘pie’

Happy Pie Day

Just before baking: lots of apples and lots of crumble on top.

Just before baking: lots of apples and lots of crumble on top.

 

Hello, pie. No I won’t be making any cliched comments about the Life of Pie. Just a recipe. A classic that holds precious memories. This is the pie that always takes me home.

And, oh, by the way. January 23 is National Pie Day. Warm up your oven.

If you’re in Milwaukee and not up to baking, go have a slice at Honey Pie Cafe. Get there early.

Mom’s Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

My mother always doubled this recipe. One pie is for immediate eating and the other goes into the freezer.

1 recipe Crumb Topping (below)
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart cooking apples (about 2-1/4 pounds)

1. Make Crumb Topping. Set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1-1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the water; gently toss with a fork. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until all dough is moistened. Form into a ball.

3. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Set aside. (I usually cover and put it in the fridge til I’m finished peeling apples and mixing the topping.)

4. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add apple slices. Gently toss to combine.

5. Pile apples mixture into crust. Sprinkle Crumb Topping over apple mixture. Gently pat mixture down over apples.

6. Place pie on a baking sheet. Cover entire pie loosely with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more or until top is dark golden brown and apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack.

CRUMB TOPPING: Stir together 3/4 brown sugar, 1/2 cups flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup butter unitl the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare as above, except after sprinkling with crumb topping, wrap entire pie tightly in a double thickness of foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake frozen pie, remove foil wrapping and place frozen pie on a baking sheet. Cover entire pie loosely with foil. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 35 to 40 minutes more or until top is brown and apples are tender. Cool on wire rack.



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Peach Pie Miracle

Sarah James

This is a guest blog from Sarah James, a writer and camper who loves to spread a little cheer through food. Check out her blog: Mountainman Approved.

When I was little I would look forward to the days when Grandma would come to visit. Patiently I’d sit at the kitchen window, straining my eyes for her white car, like a child watching the cold December sky for a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh.

She was our own Mary Poppins, bursting through our front door with a flourish, creating rainbows of joy and happiness in our black and white world.  “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah,” she’d say with a smile, pulling me into her soft body for the perfect embrace. After hugs and hellos, Grandma settled herself in the kitchen and called my sisters and me to her side, pulling perfectly wrapped packages out of her big black bag.

To a 6-year-old, that bag was magical. I always wondered what was tucked inside—the latest Polly Pocket, a shiny new Barbie or strawberry-flavored chapstick? While these small tokens were always appreciated, what I loved most were the spices, sugar and butter she’d pull out. “We’ll save these for later,” she’d say. Hours later, Grandma would call me into the kitchen, wrap an apron around my small frame, hand me a stick of butter and say, “Let’s bake, shall we?”

We’d bake all afternoon, rolling and kneading, mixing and pouring; pulling tender biscotti, rich chocolate cakes, and warm biscuits out of the oven. But the pie! Oh, my! Grandma’s pie, was the most beloved confection of all.

With a deep, golden crust and perfectly crimped edges, Grandma made her pies look like they were from the cover of a glossy food magazine. Tart cherry, spicy apple or sweet strawberry, no matter the flavor, these pies were served with a dollop of Cool Whip and gobbled up in a flash.

Pile sliced peaches into a deep-dish shell. Mmmm.

My favorite, however, was her peach pie. Spiced with cardamom and ginger, this pie was unlike any other. I’d top mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The sweet taste of late summer and early fall was in every heavenly bite.

Fast-forward 20 years. Grandma’s magic black bag is now retired along with our cozy kitchen baking sessions. Three weeks ago Grandma underwent routine shoulder replacement surgery, only to wake-up with serious complications.

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Random Act of Pie

Every now and then, six or seven firefighters sit in a row of chairs in front of the firehouse at dusk, sometimes after dark, cooling off. I’ve driven by on my way home and there they are, side by side, sitting on folding chairs in the driveway, facing the street. Makes me smile.

And because of that, I decided to bake them a slab apple pie (also known as apple pie bars).

Picked up Jonathan and Cortland apples from the farmer’s market. Used vodka, along with water, in the dough for the first time because Cook’s Illustrated says it makes the best pie crust. It’s all about science and gluten (which makes tough crusts). When water is combined with flour, it forms gluten. Replace some of the water with vodka and you don’t get as much crust-toughening gluten. I probably won’t do it again. My original crust was easier to work with. Just sayin’.

Also tried adding apple cider to the glaze, rather than my standard milk.

Then it was time for the delivery. I stopped in just as the firefighters were finishing dinner. “Here’s the dessert I ordered,” said the guy who held the door open for me.

It made the guys smile. Which made me smile. Again.

Here’s the recipe:

Slab Apple Pie

3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
½ cup ice water
¼ cup ice cold vodka or water

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 cups sliced apples
1 recipe Vanilla Glaze (below)

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Pie! Oh, my…

State Fair judging, Round 3: Pies.

I have a pie hangover.

Why did I have those warm, sugary mini-donuts as I entered the fairgrounds in the morning? Even though I wasn’t judging the pie contest until 2 p.m., I knew better. I had no idea there would be 150-some pie entries. Luckily there were about 10 judges so we divvied them up.

I only had to taste 9 pecan pies, 7 coconut cream pies, and 3 peach-raspberry pies. They brought me the 7 coconut cream pies first. Big mistake. I was so full of sugary-sweet custard and billowy whipped cream that my teeth were protesting before I started in on the pecan pies. My favorite? A pecan pie made with caramels and a generous splash of spiced rum. It didn’t take top honors tho because the caramel filling was way too runny. Good idea tho.

The overall winner of the contest sponsored by the Machine Shed? A pumpkin pie with chai spices.

Personally, I swing toward fruit pies. In case you missed this recipe some months ago, here’s my recipe for a “slab pie,” so called because it is baked in a jelly roll pan and is cut in slabs that will remind you of a bar cookie: a pie bar, if you will. I say, if you’re going to go to all the trouble of making pie, make a big, honking pie and have plenty to serve a crowd or to stash in the freezer for warming up when you’re in the mood.

My grandfather was a professional baker and served pieces of slab pie to his customers back in the day. This is my spin. Read More >>


2 Responses to “Pie! Oh, my…”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by educatedblue, Jeanne Ambrose. Jeanne Ambrose said: Judged an Iowa State Fair pie contest. A lotta pie eating. http://tinyurl.com/26sdrtt […]

  2. sue parkin says:

    Dennis is making this for me on Sunday. we’re already drooling!!!


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A Slab Pie Kind of Summer


Last summer, I spent some time in the tiny cowboy town of Dubois, Wyoming playing in the most amazing little bakery. I taught the baker about slab pie which is baked in a 15×10-inch pan. She taught me all about sourdough bread and homemade goat cheese.
Fellow traveler, Michelle, and I (in photo) made Rhubarb-Bing Cherry slab pie because the rhubarb was ready to be picked and Michelle had just bought bing cherries at the market. The experiment was a success.
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