Thursday, July 28, 2011

Marionberry Pie

I seriously just made the. best. pie. ever. Seriously. You need to make this immediately. You want to know the best part? It was so simple. That's right: an easy, delicious pie recipe is happening right now. (Printable version)

(This is an awesome recipe from my favorite blog, Our Best Bites.)
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tea salt
2/3 Cup & 2 Tbsp butter-flavor shortening
1/2 Cup ice water (really, really cold water)

(This is from my awesome mom.)
1 Cup sugar
6 Tbsp Tapioca (yes, I'm not joking)
1 Tbsp butter
Several pinches of raw sugar

Mix flour and salt in large bowl.

Add shortening in small chunks. Use a pastry cutter to mix until small, pea-size chunks form.
Here is the tricky part: add ice water 1 tbsp at a time. Do not stir. Using your hands, gently move the dry mixture toward the water so it eventually becomes moist. You are not stirring. Just making sure water touches everything. This will become dough.

Break into two pieces, wrap in plastic, refrigerate for 30+ minutes. Dough is easiest to work with when it is cold.

On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough. Place in 9-inch pie plate.

Prepare the filling: Mix the sugar and tapioca together in a bowl.

Add 6 cups of fruit. Mix thoroughly, being careful to not crush the fruit. (You aren't making jam.)

Pour into pie plate. Break up the tablespoon of butter and scatter on top of fruit.

Roll out second piece of dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut small strips to make a lattice top. (Pies with lattice tops always look prettier. I promise.)

Weave the lattice together.

Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-60 minutes. Pie will be bubbly (and smell wonderful) when it's done.

And now please admire my brand new rolling pin. Thanks, Mom, for the early birthday present!

You're welcome for giving you the (easiest) recipe for the. best. pie. ever.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blueberry Ice Cream Pie

Blueberry season is in full force in Oregon this month. I also happened to find this recipe in the June 2011 edition of Better Homes & Gardens. I've heard from a lot of different people that blueberries don't make for a very good pie. But when I saw that ice cream was involved, I went for it. (Take that, blueberry haters!) The end result: I liked the crust the best. The nutmeg addition kind of creeped out my taste buds and the pie recipe had waaaaaaaaay too many steps of freezing and re-freezing. However, my parents both liked it so feel free to copy the recipe and try it for yourself - especially if you like blueberries.

1 1/2 cups slivered almonds (I only had 1 cup almonds so I substituted 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs. You can never go wrong with graham crackers.)
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted

In a food processor, combine almonds, brown sugar, (graham crackers), and salt. Pulse until ground.

Place crumbs into a bowl and add melted butter. Stir.

Using your fingers, press crust mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. (I baked my crust for 5 minutes because the almond slivers I used were pre-toasted.)

Stick in freezer overnight. (Seriously, BHG? I don't want to wait all night. I stuck mine in the freezer while I made everything else. 30 minutes - 1 hour is fine.)

Blueberry Sauce:
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed and rinsed
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I just sprinkled ground nutmeg.)
1 Tbsp water

In medium/large pot/skillet/pan, combine berries, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir well.

Add lemon zest, juice, water and nutmeg. Keep stirring until sauce is lightly thickened and corn starch is cooked. Simmer for an additional minute while berries pop and give off juice. (I had some issues with this part. Corn starch is not new to my cooking ritual and yet I could never get this sauce to thicken. I kept adding more corn starch until I decided it could "thicken up" in the freezer.)

Set aside to cool. Keep in fridge until completely chilled. (This is important!)

Assemble Pie:
1 qt homemade ice cream (Who has that laying around? Not me. I bought some Breyer's Vanilla - Homemade Flavor and it was perfect.)
3/4 cup blueberry sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed, rinsed and dried.

Place ice cream into a massive mixing bowl and allow it to soften. (I mixed mine up using the KitchenAid so it looked homemade.)

Spoon half of ice cream into frozen crust.

Spoon 3/4 cup blueberry sauce on top of ice cream. (I stuck my pie into the freezer after this step so the sauce could harden some more. 30 minutes is long enough.)

Spoon rest of ice cream over blueberry sauce. Place in freezer until serving pie.

Whisk together sour cream, heavy cream and sugar.

Spread this cream mixture over the pie along with leftover (heated) blueberry sauce and fresh berries when you eat it. Yuuuuuum.

Make sure you share your treat with others so you don't feel guilty for eating an entire pie by yourself.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome and Fresh Stawberry Pie

Remind me why I'm doing this? Oh, right. I can't (for the life of me) figure out the best, most awesome, most incredible, pie-crust recipe. In fact, I typically fail especially when I attempt to make pie. Looking through recipe books, websites, cooking blogs and my own mother's kitchen, I am haunted by images of "perfect" pies that I am incapable of achieving. It's about time someone made a real blog about what it's like to make pie. It's messy. Time-consuming. Sometimes disappointing.

The end result, however? Totally worth it.

For the next year, I am going to make a new pie recipe every week. My theory is this: after I make 52 different pies, I'll probably be pretty good at it.

To make things easiest, I started out with a fresh strawberry pie that doesn't require a lot of baking. (Plus, it's hot out and my air conditioner doesn't work so I didn't feel like turning on the oven.)

Graham Cracker Crust: from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
11 regular graham crackers
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pie Filling: from my mother
(Beat first 3 ingredients together in separate bowl)
1 8oz block of cream cheese
1/4 powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup water

Prepare crust:

Place graham crackers into plastic bag that zips/closes securely. Use a rolling pin or pounding tool to crunch the crackers into crumbs.

Pour crumbs into bowl. Combine with melted butter and sugar.

Press into ungreased pie-plate. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Try not to lick the bowl as you pour this into the pie crust. Using a spatula, evenly spread the cream cheese mixture.

In a small bowl, crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, crushed berries and water.

Stir constantly; bring to boil. Keep stirring until the mixture is thick. Remove from stove and let cool.

Find the rest of your berries and either slice them or keep whole. (Definitely remove all the stems.) Place the berries into the pie shell on top of the cream cheese. Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. I am lucky enough to have parents that own and operate their own berry market... These gorgeous strawberries were literally picked in the morning and eaten by 7:00pm.

When serving, pour the cooked berry mixture over individual pie slices. According to my mother (which is where I received this recipe) if you pour the sauce onto the pie before you eat it, the crust gets soggy. Nobody likes a soggy crust.

Now bring your "perfect pie" to your friend's house for a barbecue. Everyone will love you.

So far... not such a disaster.

We'll see what happens next week.