Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Post-Thanksgiving Vinegar Chess Pie

I hit that terrifying point after Thanksgiving when you realize the pie is gone. So I made more! It's been a while since I made a Vinegar Chess Pie, and I was craving those flavors. Plus, the ingredients are staples I've almost always got on hand. Hooray, my husband and I have more pie to eat when we watch TV after the kids go to bed at night! Now I'm doing some serious planning for our yearly Austrian Christmas party. There will be at least four pies. Oh the possibilities!

Current Pie Tally: 233

Black-Bottom Banana Cream Duo

I made two Black-Bottom Banana Cream Pies for Thanksgiving week. I really had to work some magic to fit all that heavy cream in my refrigerator. My oldest son had a Thanksgiving classroom feast on the Tuesday before Turkey Day, so I made one pie for that. And the second was made as a result of popular vote. The kids wanted Banana Cream for Thanksgiving, so that's what we had. Both pies came out great. I put the whipped cream on top of the first pie moments before I dropped it off, and I "frosted" the second pie as we sliced it to order. Recipe can be found here. My only substitution is that I used plain graham crackers for the crust instead of chocolate.

Current Pie Tally: 232

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sugar Craving Pecan Pie

The impending arrival of Halloween must have had sugar on the brain this past weekend. I used the convenient excuse of having two babysitters come over Saturday evening to throw together this tasty Pecan Pie. Because everybody knows that if you want to maximize your sugar intake with pie, the pecan variety is the way to go. I really got slapdash with the syrup combination this time. While simultaneously overcooking my butter and brown sugar mixture on the stove, I was racing around getting my 3/4 cup of various syrups together. I thought I had sorghum, and was planning to put a bunch of that in there, but I must have used it up. So, I used about 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup, a splash of really dark molasses, a generous pour of honey, and a generous pour of maple syrup. It might be the best flavor combination yet! And although I fretted over my extensive cooking of the butter and brown sugar (some of it gathered together into chunky crystals, oops), it all cooked up just fine into that lovely velvety sugar custard!

Current Pie Tally: 230

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mama Comes to Town Apple Crumb Pie

This Apple Crumb Pie is essentially the same as the last one I made for the block party. 'Tis the season for apple pies! My mom came to visit for a few days and she is in my pie fan club, so a pie was in order. I was in the assembly stages of this beauty when she came walking through the front door. The pie was tasty as usual, but I felt I could have sauteed the apples a tad longer. They could have been a touch softer to the bite. And I maybe could have omitted one apple from the filling to up the thick saucy goodness ratio. But delicious overall, like I said. And everyone else who ate the pie thought it was perfect the way it was.

Current Pie Tally: 229

Monday, September 25, 2017

Labor Day 2017 Apple Crumb Pie

Here is the Apple Crumb Pie I made for this year's Labor Day Block Party. Usually, this venue is my opportunity to unveil my trial run for the Takoma Farmer's Market Pie contest, but I was feeling under the weather this year, so skipped the competition. I am still resting comfortably on my three past victories and did not feel any undue pressure to compete when I was not feeling up to it. So, perhaps next year! In other news, my children have decided that they strongly prefer fruit crisps to fruit pies, so I may be making more of those for the family in the future. I'll try to post some pics, even though they will not count toward the Pie Tally.

Current Pie Tally: 228

Beach Garden Rhubarb Custard Pie

Dusting off the keyboard once again, here is the first of two end-of-summer pies. I made this Rhubarb Custard Pie on our last beach trip up to CT to visit my mom. I was excited to use some fresh rhubarb that I hand-picked from mom's garden. It added a zip and fullness of flavor I don't usually get in my Rhubarb Custard Pies. It came out great and was enjoyed by all. Recipe can be found here.

Current Pie Tally: 227

Friday, July 21, 2017

Do Good Gang Bake Sale Strawberry-Peach Pie Tartlets

These don't count toward the tally of course, because they're not proper pies, but I just had to post a pic. Aren't they the cutest? I baked these for the neighborhood kids' club, The Do Good Gang. We camped outside the local hardware store last weekend with these, some other baked goods, and some cat toys, and managed to raise $176 for shelter pets. Woohoo! Looking forward to participating in more of their bake sales to help even more great causes.

Current Pie Tally: 226

Peach-Rhubarb End-of-Vacation Pie

I rolled this pie out at the tail end of a family vacation in a rented Lake Michigan beach house. It was such a great week that I managed to bake two pies! This one was my favorite of the two - I think because I purchased and paper-bag-ripened the peaches to perfection beforehand. Timing is everything with those suckers!

Peach Rhubarb Pie
pastry dough sufficient for two pie crusts
about 8 peaches, peeled, pitted, & sliced
about 4 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2" pieces
juice from 1/2 of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
4 T. arrowroot starch

Mix all the filling in a large bowl. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie dish. Pour filling in. Roll out upper crust, cut into lattice strips, arrange in criss-cross on top of pie, and crimp to seal edges. Bake at 425F for 25-30 min, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 40, until crust is golden and fruit goo starts splashing out of the crust.

Current Pie Tally: 226

4th of July 2017 Mixed Berry Pie

I have to be honest here - I don't remember exactly what went into this pie. There are blueberries and blackberries for sure. There might also be cherries, raspberries, or strawberries. No peaches or rhubarb though, because I remember saving them for another pie two days later. With that in mind, I present you with this ambiguously Mixed Berry Pie based on this recipe.

Current Pie Tally: 225

Pool Party Berry-Peach Pie

This Berry-Peach Pie was an edible "thank you" shared with friends who gave us free reign over their pool guest pass. Thanks Kim-Thompsons! The recipe for the pie is similar to this one but the fruits used were as follows: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and peaches.

Current Pie Tally: 224

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Memorial Day 2017 S'mores Pie

Apologies again for the delayed posting. Now that all of the end-of-school off-on-vacation hoopla is done for a bit, I can play catch-up. This S'mores Pie is the result of neighborhood requests for what would appear at this year's Memorial Day Block Party. I had to borrow a kitchen torch and everything (my first time using one!). It was a big deal. I used my tried-and-true graham cracker crust. Then I poured in a double batch of chocolate ganache. Then I mixed a bunch of marshmallows with some more graham cracker crust crumbles, dumped it in the ganached crust, and flamed the top heartily. It was good, but it would have been better if the marshmallows on top could have been toasted over a campfire first. Alas, not within the realm of possibility.

Current Pie Tally: 223

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Matt's 2017 Birthday Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Lucky triple digit pie tally number: 222! Woot woot! I was tired of making Straw-Blackberry Pie, so I forked out the extra dollar for the rhubarb and made this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for the husband's birthday this year. It was a weekday and I had an energetic almost-4-year-old underfoot all day, so I consider this a huge accomplishment. Happy Birthday Honey!

Current Pie Tally: 222

Spring Lab Party Straw-Blackberry Pie

I was not planning to make a pie for the Spring Lab Party, but one of the student's significant others dropped some not-so-subtle hints that he would really enjoy eating some of my pie at the lab party. So, ta da! Strawberries and blackberries were still the most cost-effective ingredient option, hence another Straw-Blackberry Pie. (Though I did linger on the possibility of slightly more expensive rhubarb instead of the blackberries.) Here is the recipe again:

Straw-Blackberry Pie (makes one 9" pie)

buttery pastry dough for bottom and top crust
1 c. white sugar
1 quart of strawberries, hulled and quartered
1-2 pints of blackberries
4 T. arrowroot starch
a splash of vanilla extract
juice from half of one lemon

Mix filling ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie dish. Pour filling in. Roll out top crust, cut into lattice strips, and place on top of pie. Fold crust edges over and crimp to seal. Freeze pie for 10 minutes. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 40 minutes. Cool and serve.

Current Pie Tally: 221

Andrea's Baby Shower Straw-Blackberry Pie

Another neighborhood baby shower meant another excuse to make scrumptious pie! For this Straw-Blackberry Pie, I chose ingredients purely based on what was on sale at the Whole Foods. Strawberries and blackberries it was! I prepared it the same as I would have made a Mixed Berry Pie. Everything came out great and the dish was licked clean. Here is the recipe:

Straw-Blackberry Pie (makes one 9" pie)

buttery pastry dough for bottom and top crust
1 c. white sugar
1 quart of strawberries, hulled and quartered
1-2 pints of blackberries
4 T. arrowroot starch
a splash of vanilla extract
juice from half of one lemon

Mix filling ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie dish. Pour filling in. Roll out top crust, cut into lattice strips, and place on top of pie. Fold crust edges over and crimp to seal. Freeze pie for 10 minutes. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 40 minutes. Cool and serve.

Current Pie Tally: 220

Pie Princess Birthday Banana Cream

My signature Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie makes another reappearance! This time with the added elements of SPRINKLES and homemade toffee caramel that has taken up residence in my refrigerator until it gets used up. Plain graham cracker crust as usual. Banana Cream Pie is the kids' current favorite and I wanted everyone to eat my birthday dessert, hence I chose to make this pie for my own birthday despite inclinations toward a different personal preference. It was as tasty as usual and I really enjoyed how the sprinkles jazzed it up at the end. For this pie, since it was a small family affair, I topped each slice of pie with whipped cream, sprinkles, and caramel to order and put the leftover pie "unfrosted" (not topped with anything) back into the fridge. This kept my whipped cream topping from getting all runny on future slices of pie. Score!

Current Pie Tally: 219

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snow Day Pi Day 2017

For Pi Day 2017, we had a snow day and my mother on hand to help watch the kids while I made pie. Score! As a thank you to mom, I made the Rhubarb Custard Pie featured here. Her Grandma Helen used to make it back in the day. I experimented with putting this in a different pie dish this time. I made it in my mom's heavier ceramic pottery dish last time I made it at her house and it came out really well. I think the heavier ceramic/pottery stuff works better. It gets nice and hot, which I think helps the crust flake up and the custard cook evenly. I'm imagining something akin to radiant (under-the-floor) heat that some fancy people have in their homes (sounds delightful!). Anyway, this pie came out bangin' awesome. I baked it in my white Corningware deep dish at 400 F for about 45 minutes. I've been eating lots of it. AND, I traded a few slices to my baker guru neighbor in exchange for a couple slices of her heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie that she made for Pi Day 2017. Thanks Angela!

Current Pie Tally: 218

Baby Shower Pie Duo

I'm really hitting my stride with these two: Apple Crumb Pie and Chocolate Pudding Pie! Everything about these babies was spot on - flaky crust, ideal whipped cream texture, chocolately richness, crispy crumb topping with perfectly toasted pecans. The two pictured were gobbled up at a neighborhood baby shower a couple weeks ago. Substitutions for the apple pie are as follows: I used arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch, fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of apple cider, and pecans instead of walnuts for the topping. For the chocolate pudding pie, I omitted the coffee ingredients as usual and used plain non-chocolate graham crackers for the crust. I will also make one additional note about the Chocolate Pudding Pie. I have been substituting Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate sometimes when we have some and I don't want to make a special trip to buy the Ghirardelli stuff. We seem to always have enough of the unsweetened on hand, but the bittersweet is the one I'm talking about. The pie is just as good I think, but different somehow. It's maybe missing that one extra level of richness that the Ghirardelli Bittersweet stuff has and I think the texture is a tiny bit firmer with the Trader Joe's chocolate, which is not a bad thing in either case. Just, as I said, different.

Current Pie Tally: 217

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vegan Pie for Christmas!

A mere days before they arrived, my dad and stepmom informed me that they were in the initial stages of going vegan. A challenge! So I bought some Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks and the parentals supplied the berries, which were on supersale at the co-op. This is the first vegan pie I have ever made and I did not know what to expect, especially when it came to how the crust would handle. Turns out it was more fally-aparty, as evidenced by the above photo. It also emitted a strong popcorn odor while baking in the oven. Surprisingly though, it was not a disaster. It was tasty, though not AS tasty as real butter, and it baked up nice and flaky like a good crust should. If I ever do another vegan crust, I will attempt to do a lattice design with the hopes that the pieces will be easier to handle. Berry Pie recipe is like this one, just remove the cherries and add strawberries and blackberries. All I tweaked with the crust was a direct substitution of vegan butter in place of real butter.

Current Pie Tally: 215

Austrian Christmas Party 2016 Pies

Pictured above are the Apple Crumb and Chocolate Pecan pies I made for the 2016 Austrian Christmas Party at our house, a glorified block party really. I also made a Pumpkin Pie. Here is the photo of that one, even though it is not as aesthetically pleasing:
My favorite of the trio was the Chocolate Pecan topped with vanilla ice cream and homemade caramel. Yum.

Current Pie Tally: 214

Thanksgiving 2016 Banana Cream

The kids won the pie vote for Thanksgiving 2016. They started shouting "Banana Cream!" as I was asking my mother for her pie preference over the phone. She had been hemming and hawing over pecan until the kids chimed in. "Oh yes, let's have Banana Cream," she said. And so it came to be. With chocolate ganache and caramel drizzle to boot. Recipe can be found here. I make mine with a plain graham cracker crust and add caramel when I'm in the mood.

Current Pie Tally: 211