Posts Tagged ‘Pie’

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Rhubarb Pie with Cardamom and Orange

April 29, 2015

The rhubarb in our garden is getting bigger every day, and I can’t wait until there’s enough of it to make some delicious summer desserts! Here’s one I made last year that I’m hoping to make again this summer.

This rhubarb pie recipe (from Bon Appetit Desserts) was supposed to have a lattice crust, but I decided to make it when I only had a single pie crust in my fridge, and I didn’t feel like making a second just for the lattice. :) So I used scraps from the single crust and cut out lots of dots to cover the surface with. I’m not sure if a true lattice would have prevented some of the bubbliness and drips around the edges, but the dots effect looked cool and it’s easy enough to use a cookie sheet underneath the pie plate to catch any drips. The filling certainly didn’t lose too much moisture from not being more covered!

I love fruit desserts that are on the tart(er) side, so rhubarb has always been one of my favorite “fruits” in dessert. We really enjoyed the subtle complexity that the cardamom and orange added to the flavor of the filling, without overwhelming the flavor of the rhubarb itself. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this makes the perfect early-summer dessert.

Rhubarb pie with cardamom and orange

See recipe

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Cherry Pie

August 4, 2014

Sour cherries are a truly seasonal fruit: unlike raspberries or blueberries, they can’t be grown year-round in a hothouse. Last year I let the short season pass me by, and this year I was determined not to miss it again. When my parents mentioned that they were going cherry picking a few weeks ago, I jumped on the chance to stock up. My mom asked me how much I wanted, and I told her “as much as you feel like carrying!” :) She’s the best mom ever: she picked me eight pounds of sour cherries, and felt so bad about how long it would take me to pit them, that she came over one afternoon and pitted all of them while watching a movie! So of course I shared samples of all my baking adventures with her… not enough of a thank-you for all her work. I’ll find a way to make it up to her somehow!

I think this is actually the first time I’ve made a sour cherry pie, and this recipe from the Gourmet Today cookbook was highly praised by the author of the Gourmet Project blog, so it’s the one I picked. Bon Appetit featured a cherry pie on one of their recent magazine covers with small holes cut out of the top crust rather than the traditional star-shaped slit. I don’t have any tiny biscuit cutters, but I found that the bottom of a cake decorating tip was the perfect size to achieve this effect! I like the way the larger holes reveal more of what the filling of the pie is (which is better for photographs), although those who feel squicked by the appearance of lotus seed pods would probably prefer a less hole-y crust. :)

The pie was fantastic; not too tart and not too sweet. To thicken the filling, this recipe uses a combination of both ground tapioca and cornstarch. At first I was wondering if this would  make it turn out too thick or gelatinous, but it turned out perfect for the amount of juices generated by the cherries. The touch of cinnamon added a really nice nuance to the flavor without being overwhelming. I would definitely make this pie again during next year’s sour cherry season! Or I may have to break out the gallon-size bag of cherries stashed away in the freezer… maybe mid-February when everyone could use a little touch of summer. :)

Cherry pie

See recipe

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Lattice-Crust Pear Pie

July 14, 2014

All pies, all the time!

Today I’m sharing another pear dessert recipe that I made back in the fall – a more complex pie instead of an easy tart this time! Although honestly the pie isn’t that much more complicated, just possibly more intimidating if you’ve never made a lattice crust before. :)

The most important thing when making a lattice is to not let your dough get too warm. As soon as your dough warms up, it’ll get really soft and tear easily. Which means you need to keep your top dough piece in the fridge until just before rolling it out and topping the pie with it. It’s also definitely to your advantage to have a stiffer dough rather than a soft, easy-roll pie dough. Adding sugar to pie dough makes it softer, so I choose to leave it out for this recipe.

The second important thing is knowing how to properly weave the lattice so it doesn’t look like you just have strips of dough sitting on top of other strips. GimmeSomeOven has awesome step-by-step photos of how to weave the lattice right on top of the pie itself, so you’re not trying to do it on your counter and then transfer the whole thing over (which makes tearing way more likely).

This past November was the first year my coworkers have let me make something for my own birthday. Since one of my coworkers and I share a birthday, I was able to pass it off as making it for her and not really for me. :) They always thought it was weird that I actually wanted to make my own birthday dessert, but since I love baking and I love to eat the desserts I make, I didn’t think it seemed too weird to me! Pear pie sounds a bit unusual, and since I love things that are out of the ordinary, I’d been wanting to try this recipe from Gourmet Today for a while. It was delicious! The texture was similar to apple pie, but a small amount of nutmeg instead of cinnamon allowed the pear flavor to come through without being overwhelmed by spice. I’ll definitely be making this again in the fall!

Note that this recipe requires a 9½-inch deep dish pie plate rather than a standard 9-inch pie plate.

Lattice-crust pear pie

See recipe

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Coconut Cream Pie

January 20, 2014

Last weekend I unexpectedly found myself in the middle of a very frustrating personal situation combined with no planned activities to keep myself distracted from obsessively ruminating on said situation. Solution? Baking. I’d already planned on making quiche that day, so without a plan in mind, I made a double recipe of pie crust and figured I’d come up with something to make with it by Sunday afternoon. I restricted my recipe options to “pies I can make without having to make another trip to the store in this awful weather,” which narrowed down my choices to one. This coconut cream pie in Bon Appetit Desserts. I think the first and last time I’d made a coconut cream pie was in high school (one of the homeschooling moms taught us all to make pies, maybe freshman year?), before I had the use of a food processor for crust. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you can probably tell by now how much I love my food processor… one of the best wedding registry choices we made, haha!

So I swapped out Bon Appetit’s crust in this recipe with Gourmet’s; I’ve made Gourmet’s crust many many times and I know I can always get consistent results. But if you have a favorite crust, feel free to swap that out too. It’s just your basic blind baked pie crust to start. The rest of the recipe was pretty easy, if a bit time consuming. If you’re familiar with making custard/tempering eggs, this is a piece of cake. If not, then this would be a good place to start! Basically you don’t want the eggs in your custard to scramble by heating them up too fast, so you whisk the hot milk into them a little bit at a time. This heats them up slowly and they don’t get all clumpy. For super smooth custards like creme brulee, often you’ll strain the custard, but this custard has flaked coconut all through it so it’s fairly forgiving.

The filling initially has to refrigerate for 2 hours to cool, then also in the crust overnight, so you can’t make this pie the day you’re planning on serving it. I was taking it to work on Monday, so making it Sunday evening worked fine; I just had to get up a little earlier on Monday morning to whip the cream for the topping. I thought this pie turned out really well, and it definitely perked some of my coworkers up too! Enjoy. :)

Coconut cream pie

See recipe

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Nectarine Raspberry Pie

August 26, 2013

When I was a kid, my parents spent every summer buying lots of different fruits and making jam. They’ve long since decided that canning is too much work, but I still remember one particular jam that was my absolute favorite (and that I’ve never seen made commercially): peach-raspberry. That flavor combination has stuck with me since I was little, so when I spotted this pie recipe in Gourmet Today earlier in the spring, I immediately added it to my must-make list for later in the summer. Since nectarines are basically peaches without the fuzz, I kept my fingers crossed that the flavors in this pie would be reminiscent of the fondly-remembered jam from my childhood.

A fresh fruit pie will have the best flavor if made when the fruit is at the peak of its season, which here in upstate New York translates to mid-July/early August for raspberries and nectarines. Because my partner’s birthday at work was July 10th, I decided to take the opportunity to finally give it a try! This was actually the second pie I made for his birthday (the first being tourtiere), so this wasn’t so much for him as it was for the rest of my coworkers. He’s not much into sweets and so preferred the meat pie, but generally birthdays = dessert and therefore a sweet pie would keep everyone else happy. :)

It turned out exactly the way I was hoping – I could smell my parents’ peach-raspberry jam all through the house while the pie was baking! And it tasted phenomenal. I’m definitely adding this pie to my make-again list. Enjoy!

Nectarine raspberry pie

See recipe

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Tourtière

July 13, 2013

As my work partner’s birthday approached, I was having a difficult time deciding what sort of baked good to make for him. He prefers savory food to sweets, but no one else in the office would be terribly appreciative of me bringing in, say, chuck roast with onions instead of a cake. :) Since so much fresh fruit is available in summertime, I was thinking of making a pie instead of a cake, and then it hit me: tourtière!

Nobody I’ve talked to has ever heard of tourtière; they are seriously missing out! Tourtière is a French-Canadian meat pie that’s traditionally served at Christmastime. The typical filling in the Montreal version consists of ground pork (sometimes mixed with ground beef and mirepoix), cinnamon, and cloves.

My mom used to make tourtière about once a year in the winter, from a recipe my dad had found in Gourmet magazine many years ago. I asked my mom for a copy of the recipe, but when she went to get it from her recipe binder, it turns out my dad had gotten rid of it because he decided it was “too rich”! I knew there was a recipe in my Gourmet Cookbook, but when I looked at the ingredients, I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. I remember the crust from my childhood as being very rich and buttery, but this recipe’s crust included baking powder and was described as “biscuit-like.” Definitely not. So I turned to google. This post from the Runaway Spoon sounded promising – her grandmother had gotten this recipe from Gourmet many years ago. I don’t remember my mom’s including carrots and celery, but it was worth a try! She didn’t include a crust recipe, so I used my standby pie crust recipe as it always turns out buttery and flaky.

The tourtière was amazing, just like how I remembered it. :) My partner loved it as well and took a few pieces home for leftovers. (I did end up making a fruit pie too because not everyone would like meat pie and I was feeling generous like that. Fruit pie is to be posted later.)

Tourtiere

See recipe

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Sour Cream Apple Pi(e)

March 18, 2013

This year I finally remembered Pi Day before it was too late! However, I happened to think of it during the early evening of 3/13, so making a pie that took 5 or 6 hours from start to finish was out of the question. Originally I was trying to find a double-crust recipe so I could cut a pi shape as the steam vent in the top, but the only fruit I had at home was a bunch of Granny Smith apples. It’s best not to make an apple pie with only one type of apple because the flavor won’t be complex enough, so that was out. Foregoing the double crust idea, I also didn’t want to make anything with chocolate or nuts because of coworkers’ food allergies. Finally I came across this recipe in my Gourmet Today cookbook: not a double-crust pie, but I could decorate the streusel top with a scrap from the single crust! I think it looks better than a steam vent would have anyway; I was very pleased with the way it held its shape!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy a piece of my own pie because of the gluten-free-for-Lent thing I’ve got going on, but I did cheat a little bit and take one bite of the filling for the sake of writing the blog post. :) I adore sour cream-based apple pies (even more than regular apple pie), and this one definitely lived up to the high expectations I have for Gourmet’s recipes. It was also super easy to put together since there’s no top crust to fiddle with. My coworkers all loved it, and I’ll definitely be making it again once my Lenten fast is over!

Sour cream apple pi!

See recipe