Cherry Pie

Happy First Day of Summer! You may recall back in March I posted a Blueberry Pie in honor of Pi Day and that it was the first time I ever had Blueberry Pie, well, another confession. I’ve never had Cherry Pie. So, what better way to celebrate the start of the summer and cherry season than with a Cherry Pie!

First things first… Since I was using fresh cherries I had to pit them. I don’t own a cherry pitter so I pitted the cherries by using a reusable plastic straw. I literally just pushed the straw through the cherry to remove the pit. Check out this link for a few more ideas on how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter.

You may recall I’m not a fan of making pie crust from scratch – one of these days I will attempt to make it again – so I used my usual Pillsbury Pie crust. I rolled out one of the crusts an extra inch or two and then placed it in the bottom of my pie dish.

To prep the filling, I mixed flour, sugar and cinnamon in a Ziploc bag and then added in the cherries and tossed them around in the mixture to make sure they were completely covered.

I then poured the mixture, along with the excess flour mixture, into the pie plate.

Next, I used the second pie crust to top the pie and brushed it with milk and sprinkled sugar on it.

I then baked it in a 425 F preheated oven for 25 minutes and then lowered the oven temperature to 350 F and baked it for an additional 30 minutes. Until the filling was bubbling.

While my crust did come out a little wonky looking, it didn’t take away from how delicious the pie was. There’s something to be said about using fresh fruit… YUM!

 

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

4 cups sweet cherries, pitted

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish with one of the pie crusts

In a Ziploc bag combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the cherries and toss to coat. Add to the pie crust lined-dish

Place the second crust on top and trim the ends. Cut vent slits in the middle of the pie and crimp the edges.

Bake for 25 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, tent the pie.

Recipe from Food.com

Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie

It’s Pi day! And no, I didn’t spell that wrong. Today is 3/14, the first 3 numbers for Pi. The Greek letter that is a symbol in mathematics to represent a constant – the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s an irrational and transcendental number, i.e. it will go on infinitely without repetition or a pattern. Have I bored you yet? Sorry… On to the Pie. In honor of Pi Day, I decided to bake a pie I had never had before, a blueberry pie. A Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie to be exact. Yes, I never had Blueberry Pie until I made this one. I must say, I am not a big pie eater, especially fruit pie. I always feel like they are going to be super sweet. What made this pie a hit amongst those who tried it was the fact that it wasn’t super sweet. Something I was quite happy about as well.

I’m not a fan of making pie crust from scratch so I buy Pillsbury refrigerated crust. I find it works just as well as homemade crust – I am sure there are plenty of you shaking your heads at that comment right now – and its super easy to use to make a decorative crust. And another plus, clean-up is a cinch! So after letting my two crusts (one for the top and one for the bottom) come to room temperature I rolled out what would be the bottom into a 13 inch round; the crust was already a 9-inch round so I had no problem rolling it out the extra few inches. I then fitted it into my 9-inch pie plate.

Next, I made the filling. I combined 7 cups of fresh blueberries with sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch & lemon juice.

I then poured the mixture into the pie plate.

To make the lattice top, I started by rolling out the other half of the pie crust into another 13-inch round.  Then using a fluted pastry wheel I cut the dough into ten 1-inch strips. Thankfully my work mat has 1-inch grid lines on it so cutting out the strips was a breeze. I just had to be sure to cut in a straight steady line.

I placed five of the strips vertically on the pie, evenly spaced.

And then proceeded to fold and unfold the strips to create a lattice pattern.

I then trimmed and tucked in the edges of the crust and crimped it with a fork.

Next, I brushed the pie with an egg yolk-heavy cream egg wash and sprinkled sanding sugar on top.

And after refrigerating the pie for about a half hour in the fridge I placed it on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust began to brown, and then lowered the oven to 350 F and continued baking the pie for about another hour, until the crust was a deep golden brown and the juices began to bubble. I kept the pie tented with aluminum foil for most of the baking time, removing it for the last 30 minutes of baking so the crust wouldn’t brown too quickly.

Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust – Bake your own or store bought

2 pounds (about 7 cups) fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 large egg yolk, for egg wash

1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

On a lightly floured surface roll out half of your pie crust into a 13-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate.

In a large bowl combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour the mixture into the pie plate, piling in the center.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the other half of your pie crust. Once again into a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. To make the lattice, cut the dough into 10 1-inch strips using a fluted pastry wheel or a pizza cutter. Carefully place the strips on the pie weaving into a lattice pattern. Trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang and fold the edges under, then crimp with a fork.

In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream for the egg wash. Brush on top of the dough strips and then sprinkle with the sanding sugar.

Refrigerate or freeze the pie until firm, about 30 minutes.

Place the pie on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until the pie begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices begin to bubble, about an hour. If the crust begins to brown too quickly tent the pie with aluminum foil.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing in.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts Book

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Desserts

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and joyous times with loved ones. This year I spent the day at a friend’s house enjoying said delicious food and joyous times – although I did cook a turkey the following day. At this point though I am kind of turkeyed out! I didn’t go empty handed to the Thanksgiving celebration though; I brought the dessert… three pies, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. What can I say, I love to bake!

Among the pies was a Pumpkin Pie that I decorated using Fall themed pie cutters. Then there was a Sweet Potato Pie that I decorated with a leaf border. I made this pie because I had never tried sweet potato pie and was curious what the fuss was all about, it was good, but, I am partial to pumpkin. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design.

IMG_9940

For the Cheesecake I stuck to a basic recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberries. The cranberries were so good that I ended up eating the leftovers like they were candy.

IMG_9938

And finally, the Chocolate Cake. The cake had a pumpkin spice mousse filling – it was super simple to make and delish thanks to a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix – and frosted it with chocolate frosting. And to give it a Fall theme I topped it with white chocolate leaves in seasonal colors.

IMG_9928

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Berry Galette

The unofficial end of summer is upon us… Labor Day. While the day temps feel like summer the drop in the evening temps definitely signal the arrival of Fall is imminent, kids are heading back to school and everywhere you look there is something flavored pumpkin. I am not complaining though… Fall is by far my favorite of the four seasons. I love the crispness in the air, apple picking, the leaves changing colors and the return of scarf season. If you didn’t know, I love scarves!!! But before all that fun begins I have one last summer themed dessert… A Mixed Berry Galette. While you can get berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. – anytime of the year, summer is when they are at their peak.

Just look at how vibrant and delicious these berries look…

IMG_9105

While you could make your dough from scratch, I opted to go the easier and quicker route by using a puff pastry sheet. After thawing the sheet out I rolled it on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. I then transferred it to a parchment lined cookie sheet and placed it the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

IMG_9107

Following that I put my berries – which I tossed with corn starch, sugar and salt – in a small mound in the center of the sheet and folded the edges around it. I brushed the edges with an egg wash – an egg beaten with a teaspoon of water – and sprinkled granulated sugar on it.

IMG_9110

After refrigerating it for 15 minutes I the baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for 30 minutes – until the puff pastry was golden brown and the berries were bubbling. Unfortunately my galette opened up a bit while baking.

IMG_9115

That didn’t affect the taste though; once it cooled I cut myself a piece and was quite pleased with how something so quick and simple could turn into something so delicious!

Mixed Berry Galette

Ingredients:

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 large egg, for brushing the pastry

3 cups mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar*, plus more for sprinkling the puff pastry

1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you would like your galette on the sweeter side add a tablespoon or two more sugar.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the sheet to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Make the filling by tossing the berries with the cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Place the fruit in the center of the puff pastry in a small mound and fold the edges of the sheet over the fruit, overlapping the sheet as you fold.

Brush the pastry with an egg wash – the egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water – and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with love and laughter amongst family and friends and of course some delicious food! My Thanksgiving was good and while there was plenty of scrumptious food to be had there was also plenty of yummy desserts… Including this Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie.

IMG_6020

To begin, I made the brownie batter portion of the pie by melting a stick of unsalted butter and a 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with light brown sugar over medium heat in a saucepan. Once the butter and chocolate were melted I removed the saucepan from the heat and whisked in two eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl I whisked together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and then added this flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisked it until the both were combined and smooth.

IMG_5983

Following that I transferred the brownie batter into a measuring cup to ensure that I would pour the right amount – a third of the batter – into the prepared pie plate.

IMG_5986

While the brownie was baking in the oven I made the pumpkin filling by whisking together pumpkin puree, heavy cream, an egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl until it was smooth.

IMG_5987

By the time I was done with the pumpkin filling the brownie was ready to come out of the oven.

IMG_5989

I immediately poured the pumpkin filling over the brownie. I stirred a tablespoon of water to the remaining brownie batter and then spooned the batter onto the pumpkin filling. Using the back of the spoon I then pulled the batter into the filling.

IMG_5991

After baking for about 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven the Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie was ready to come out. Unfortunately it did end up cracking a bit but luckily it didn’t affect the flavor one bit!

IMG_6000

Pumpkin and chocolate is definitely a winning combination! The sweetness of the brownie is such a nice complement to the mellow taste of pumpkin spiced with pumpkin pie spice (a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & allspice.) I took half of this pie to a friend’s house for dessert and one of the guests commented that I needed to go home and get the other half. You can’t beat a complement like that!

IMG_6021

Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pie plate

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Pumpkin Filling:

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and side of a 9 1/2 – inch deep-dish pie plate. Make the brownie filling; Heat the butter, chocolate chips and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined.

2. Pour about one-third of the brownie batter into the prepared pie plate; set aside the remaining batter. Bake until just starting to set and the top is shiny, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl; whisk until smooth.

4. Pour the pumpkin filling over the warm brownie layer. Stir 1 tablespoon water into the remaining brownie batter, then spoon the batter (in about 6 scoops) onto the pumpkin filling. Use the back of the spoon to pull the brownie batter into the pumpkin filling and create a swirled pattern. Bake until the pie is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

 

Tomato and Corn Custard Pie

A few weeks ago I posted about a Tomato Fontina Torte with Rosemary Crust that was quite delicious. I got the recipe from a recent issue of Food Network Magazine, well, when I went to put the recipe back into my recipe binder (I’m one of those super-organized individuals) I noticed another recipe that I must have overlooked when I flipped through the magazine, a recipe for a Tomato and Corn Custard Pie that I knew I had to try and finally got around to it earlier this week. It ended up being the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

IMG_5524

To begin I baked the pie crust. I wish I had used my crust cover while baking the crust so it wouldn’t have browned as much during the final cooking with the actual pie in it.

IMG_5537

While the crust was in the oven I prepped all of my ingredients. I began by coring the tomatoes and slicing them into quarters. I then tossed them with kosher salt and spread them on a paper towel lined baking sheet so they could release their juices.

IMG_5528

Next I chopped up 6 scallions and divided them into two bowls and lightly beat three eggs. I took two major shortcuts for this recipe… I used pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese and instead of using fresh corn I opted to use frozen corn that I steamed in the microwave.

IMG_5533 IMG_5530

Following that I reserved 1/2 cup of the cooked corn in a large bowl and placed the remaining corn, about 1 1/2 cups, in a sauté pan with heavy cream and brought it to a simmer on medium heat.

IMG_5534

I then poured the mixture into the bowl of my food processor and blended it until it was smooth.

IMG_5539

I transferred the pureed corn-heavy cream mixture to the bowl with the reserved corn and whisked in the eggs, half of the cheese and scallions and some fresh ground black pepper.

IMG_5540

I poured this mixture into my cooked pie crust and placed it in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes until it was just set.

IMG_5541

While the custard was cooking in the oven I mixed the remaining scallions and cheese along with panko breadcrumbs and seasoned it with paprika, salt and pepper.

IMG_5548

I reserved 1/4 cup of the mixture and tossed the remaining mixture with the tomatoes.

IMG_5552

Once I removed the pie from the oven I increased the oven temperature to 400 F…

IMG_5549

And then topped the pie with the reserved mixture and placed the coated tomatoes on top of the pie and topped it with the remaining panko mixture left in the bowl. Finally I dotted the top of the pie with a tablespoon of butter.

IMG_5556

I placed the pie back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until the top was golden, and let it cool for a bit before slicing into it.

IMG_5563

Final verdict… Absolutely delicious! The custard is a tad bit sweet because of the corn and the panko breadcrumb topping is on the savory side because of the addition of the scallions, paprika and cheddar cheese. This is a definite winner I can see myself making many times to come!

IMG_5572

 

Tomato and Corn Custard Pie

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

1 round refrigerated pie dough (half of a 14-ounce package)

2 beefsteak tomatoes (about 12 ounces)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off (1 to 1 1/2 cups) *I opted to use a 10 ounce bag of frozen corn that I steamed in the microwave)

1 cup heavy cream

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 scallions, chopped

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme*

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper*

*I omitted these two spices from my version

Directions:

1. Position racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, crimping the edge with your fingers. Poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Line with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle rack until golden around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; continue baking until golden all over, about 10 more minutes.

2. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch wedges; toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels to drain until ready to use.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn and cook stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup of the corn to a large bowl.

4. Add the heavy cream to the saucepan with the remaining corn and bring to a simmer. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blends and puree until smooth; transfer to the bowl with the corn. Whisk in the eggs, half each of the scallions and cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper; pour into the crust. Bake of the middle rack until the custards is just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 F.

5. Mix the remaining scallions and cheese, the panko, thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the mixture on top of the pie. Pat the tomato wedges with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture, then coat with the remaining panko mixture and arrange on top of the tart. Sprinkle any remaining panko on top; dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Return to the oven on the upper rack and bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.

 

 

A Delicious Short-Cut Peach Pie

Short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. When you are driving they can get you where you have to go quicker and hopefully help you avoid some traffic along the way. In our day-to-day lives they can make us a bit more efficient to get daily tasks completed. And in baking they can guarantee us a flakier crust and fruit that’s perfectly ripe for a pie!

A few weeks ago I got it in my head that I wanted to make a peach pie. I’m actually not a big fruit pie fan – I’m not that keen on fruit pie filling, especially when it’s on the runny side – but, I think the Pillsbury Pie Crust sitting in my refrigerator got me thinking. I’ve made pie crusts from scratch once or twice before but, like I said there’s nothing wrong with taking a short-cut every now and then. I went one step further with my short-cut and opted to use frozen peaches. I just wasn’t in the mood to peel and slice a few pounds of peaches.

IMG_4587

I combined 2 pounds of frozen sliced peaches with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice and almond extract. I decided on the almond extract after reading that many bakers used to add the nut – sometimes called a “bitter almond” –  that’s inside the pit of the peach to the pie while baking to give it an almond flavor. That practice has since diminished as it was discovered that the nut contains trace amounts of cyanide, granted you would have to eat a large quantity of them for anything to happen, but, who wants to bite down on something hard when they are enjoying a piece of pie.

IMG_4588

Next I unrolled one of the pie crusts and pressed it into the bottom of the pie dish.

IMG_4590

I then added the filling and mounded it slightly in the middle and dotted it with small pieces of unsalted butter.

IMG_4593

Instead of just unrolling the other pie crust on top of the pie I decided to give it a little pizazz with a lattice pattern that wouldn’t require weaving. First I sliced the top pie crust into 6 1-inch strips…

IMG_4595

And then divided those strips in half to end up with a total of 12 1/2-inch strips.

IMG_4596

I laid five strips across the pie, doing my best to equally space them

IMG_4597

Then I laid four strips across the previous strips diagonally.

IMG_4598

And after some trimming and crimping, voila, a simple lattice pattern.

IMG_4600

I then placed the pie on a baking sheet in a 400 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes. I then lowered the oven to 375 F and baked the pie for about another hour. Prior to lowering the temperature I brushed the top of the pie with an egg wash to ensure a nice golden brown color. I kept a close eye on the pie and when I noticed the rims of it were browning a tad bit too much I covered it with aluminum foil. I knew it was time to take the pie out of the oven when the filling was bubbling.

IMG_4617

After letting it cool it was time to slice into it…

IMG_4639

And I happy to say that the pie was a perfect consistency… Not too watery and not too dry! It was a definite winner!

IMG_4645

 

Peach Pie – Adapted from here

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

Filling:

2 pounds of sliced and peeled frozen peaches (Use frozen, do not thaw)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour (I doubled the amount the original recipe called for to allot for the water the frozen fruit would release while baking)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Make the filling by mixing the peaches in a large bowl with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, all spice and almond extract.

3. Unroll one pie crust and place in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Add the filling, mounding it slightly in the center and dot with the butter.

4. Unroll the second crust and dust it lightly with flour and cut it into 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay half of the strips on the pie in one direction, leaving about a 1-inch space between each strip. Lay the remaining strips on top, crossing them diagonally to make a faux lattice pattern. Trim the edges of the strips leaving a small overhang and crimp the edges into the bottom crust with your fingers.

5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and brush the pie with an egg wash (beat the egg with a tablespoon of water). Bake for another hour until the filling it bubbly. If you notice the out crusts of the pie is browning too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Once baked, transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing. Store remaining pie in the refrigerator.