oh dear

27 Sep

hi friends,

well, if you haven’t noticed, it’s thursday afternoon. not monday morning. it was a busy weekend and now it’s been a pretty busy week and the coming week is equally as full. usually i have been posting 2 delicious pies a week (ya know, the 2 weeks i’ve been doing this) and this has proven to be a pace at which i cannot continue to bake and live. now that fall (oh, glorious fall) is finally here lots of things are back in full swing. and these “lots of things” are so wonderful and fun but they require my love and attention elsewhere. so all of that to say, you will probably be hearing from me just once a week until i get a better handle on what it means to be a “blogger”. balancing mommyhood, wifeyhood, lifeyhood and my inability to juggle too much at once, 2 posts seemed a bit too ambitious. so, here we are at thursday afternoon.

now that we’ve had that little heart to heart, lets get back to pie shall we?

today, fellow bakers/pie eaters, we talk about chocolate cream pie. this one takes some time. (lots of cooling needs to happen before you can eat it, so plan ahead) i make this pie for my mom. it’s one of her all time favorites. and because it’s one of hers, it is de facto one of mine. it’s in its usual graham cracker crust. but i add several more ounces of chocolate than usually called for and my meringue is really tall. like really. and boy is it tastey! there are lots of ways to make meringue. you can whip your egg whites and just add sugar and vanilla, you can add in cornstarch, or cream of tarter, or flavor it with various extracts, or you can do what i did here and add super hot simple syrup. the super hot syrup actually cooks the egg whites which makes them really tall and keeps them from “weeping”. i know, this word seems a little gross to use when talking about the fluffy perfection atop a pie. it should be used only with gross things like wounds. ew. why did i just say that?! ew. moving on.

chocolate cream pie is the quintessential diner pie. flo should serve this to you on a chilled plate with a hot cup of old coffee while she smokes a cig and wears her orthopedic shoes. maybe you could serve this pie to your friends in a similar fashion. i think it would be well received.

chocolate cream pie:

graham cracker crust:
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
big pinch of salt
6 tablespoons melted butter.

combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. add melted butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in the butter. poor this mixture evenly into a 9 1/2″ pie dish and press it flat evenly all over the dish and up the sides. refrigerate for 5-10 minutes. then bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. then let cool completely and refrigerate until your filling is ready to pour into it.

filling:

1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 eggs yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate

whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium sauce pan. place over medium high heat and add milk and egg yolks and whisk almost non-stop for 6-9 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken significantly. cook for 1 minutes more whisking rapidly to keep from splattering. remove from heat and stir in butter, one piece at a time, and the vanilla. divide your chopped chocolate into 3 piles and add to the hot mixture 1/3 at a time until fully melted and smooth. pour the mixture into cooled and refrigerated pie crust. tightly cover with plastic wrap. lay the plastic wrap directly on the filling with no air bubbles. this will prevent a film from forming on top of the chocolate filling. pop this in the fridge for at least 4 hours. cooling overnight would be perfect.  just before serving make the meringue.

meringue:
adapted from cook’s country

1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
4 large egg whites (reserved from filling)
 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. combine water and sugar in small saucepan. bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat and cook 4 minutes (mixture will become slightly thickened and syrupy). remove  from heat and set aside while beating whites.
with an electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. add salt and cream of tartar and beat, gradually increasing speed to medium-high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. with mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into whites. add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes very thick and shiny, 5 to 9 minutes.
using a rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling, making sure meringue touches edges of crust. use spatula to make peaks all over meringue. bake until peaks turn golden brown, about 6 minutes. transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. slice with a large knife that’s been dipped in warm water to get a clean cut.

don’t forget your orthopedic shoes and hair net. do flo proud.

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apple hand pies

21 Sep

ladies and gentlemen fall officially starts tomorrow!! hot chai, scarves, leggings, sweaters, apple pie. fall is my most favorite season. and upon moving to the mid-west i finally started to experience it. i pretended fall in texas, but i get a real one up here in kc. my windows have been open and i’ve been chilly inside for the first september of my life! it is a glorious thing. one of my favorite things about fall is apple pie. well really it’s weather that sits in the 50’s and 60’s but apple pie makes it even better. and these little pies are fall’s best friend right in the palm of your hand. they’re warm, flaky and just the right amount of gooey. pop them into a picnic basket or just straight into your mouth. they’re pure happiness. for those of you in the warmer parts of the world… i do feel empathy for you. so sorry the sun steals away any sign of cool weather. but crank up the a/c put on a sweater and make one of these happy treats.

the apples need to be pre-cooked to get them to be gooey in their little pie crust pocket. but once you’ve done that tiny bit of leg work the perfect little hand pie will be coming out of your oven in no time.

so let’s keep this short and sweet. here is your recipe for fall apple hand pies.

adapted from ken haedrich’s book pie

filling:

2 1/2 large peeled and apples diced into bite size chunks
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
big pinch of cinnamon
big pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

combine the juice, apples, and 2 tablespoons sugar into a medium sauce pan. bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring a few times. stir remaining sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg into apple mixture and cook for another minute. stir in zest and pour mixture out onto a plate to cool to room temp.

crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold water

milk or one beaten egg

put dry ingredients into food process or and pulse a few times. add butter, pulse 6-7 times, fluff with a fork, add shortening, pulse 6-7 times, fluff, add water a little at a time and pulse until coarse crumbs form. turn out onto floured surface. form into 6 equally sized small balls and roll out into 8″ circles. fill each circle with some of the apple mixture, fold over and with wet fingers pinch down the sides. place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (or i use one of these baking mats) and brush with milk or an egg wash and poke a few tiny holes for ventilation. sprinkle with sugar and bake in a pre-heated oven 400 F oven for 10 min. turn down heat to 375 F and cook for an additional 20 minutes. sprinkle a little more sugar on top as soon as they’re out of the oven. let them cool until they’re cool enough to hold and then eat!

a little bit of texas

17 Sep

last summer my family and i moved to kansas city from denton, tx. our first few months in this city were sweet and adventure filled as we explored our new home and fell in love with it’s people, food, coffee, art, music…the list goes on. but after those initial few months a little home sickness set in. i needed some texas in my life. so i baked up a buttermilk pie. this was just what my little heart needed. it’s custardy sweetness and caramelized top were pure comfort. after i had eaten most of it myself while moping on the couch watching friday night lights i shared it with my kansas city friends (partly out of generosity but mostly out of waist-line protection) and they were hooked. i mean what’s not to love? the two cups of sugar is a wonderful place to start. yeah, 2 cups. so drink coffee while eating it. like, for real.

this pie is a breeze to bake. the only “tricky” part is blind baking (or pre-baking) the crust, and that’s not even tricky. you simply make your crust like normal, make the edges look pretty, line with a piece of foil, fill with beans and pop into a pre-heated oven. in this case you’ll only blind bake it for 10 minutes. which is pretty great because that’s all the time you need to make the filling!

so here you have it. buttermilk pie:

recipe adapted from homesick texan (how fitting)

filling:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
nutmeg

1 pie crust

put pie crust into a 350 F oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
combine the sugar with the flour. cream the butter in an electric mixer. add the sugar mixture to the butter and then stir in the eggs, salt, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla extract and vinegar.
pour filling into the partially baked pie crust, sprinkle with nutmeg and bake uncovered until brown on top and the custard has set, about 50-55 minutes. check on your pie at 40-45 min and if it’s looking too brown just cover it with some tin foil until ready.
let cool for 20-30 min before serving. this little gem is delicious both cold and warm.

just try to keep this pie in your house for longer that 2 days. i dare you. but either way keep this one in the fridge.
clear plates, full bellies, can’t lose.

most favorite of favorites

14 Sep

and i have a lot of favorites because i’m indecisive and because lots of things are really really good in a pie. but for today this is my most favorite pie. ever. but, i fear this post may be a bit late for the juicy, delicious treats of summer that make this pie what it is. peaches and blueberries are a bit past their prime. but i shall post this recipe none the less because i think it’s delicious and a little bit hardy, which is what we need when we segue into fall right? right. so DEFINITELY have this for dessert tonight…and breakfast the next day and then for dessert after breakfast. it’s really that delicious.
also feel free to just eat pancakes. because those are delicious too. just as long as you eat these. they’ll straight up change you’re life. no, really. they will.

back to pie.

this fella is full of peaches and blueberries with a hint of basil. i feel that when you put fresh basil in things it makes it fancier. but don’t worry we won’t get too fancy. the cornmeal crust makes it earthy enough that you could even wear your long skirt and no shoes while eating it and not feel under dressed AND since it’s sweetened with honey it’s even practically healthy! man, this pie wins on all levels.

this pie helped me meet my need to use the abundance of basil on my plant for something OTHER than pesto or one of the MANY different kinds of crostinis and salads floating around my fav food blogs these days. so i thought PIE!

so lets get to it! first the crust.

cornmeal crust

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/4 cup buttermilk

put all dry ingredients into your food processor and pulse. add butter and shortening. pulse and fluff. add buttermilk and mix until dough starts to hold together. i then took the crumbs little by little and patted them into my pie shell. the crumbyness of the corn meal made this way easier than rolling it out.

filling

3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, partially thawed…ya know since i lolly gagged with posting this)
3 cups peaches fresh- peeled pitted and sliced or frozen partially thawed
1/4 cup honey (just use your fav but i think a dark honey would be so good!)
1/4 plus 2 tablespoon cup sugar
a dash of nutmeg
2 dashes of cinnamon (a very technical amount, i know)
1 tablespoon of orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sweet basil leaves
2 tablespoons cornstarch

mix blueberries, peaches, honey, sugar, orange juice, and basil into a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. mix in cornstarch and turn out into pie shell.

bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375 F for another 30-40 minutes. let cool for an hour then slice that baby and scarf it!

the end of summer

10 Sep

it’s upon us. summer’s end is just around the corner. for lots of people this is a truly sad time. i however couldn’t feel less sad. i don’t like summer. it’s not glamorous for me. i sweat like a 700 lbs man. it’s gross. i HATE being hot. i HATE sweating and i HATE when it’s too hot out even to bake. since baking is my sanity saver, summer can be a truly crazymaker time in my life. so knowing that the promise of fall is here in kansas city my soul is skipping with joy.
however, i will miss the beautiful produce summer provides. fruit pies are my favorite and delicious fresh berries leave with the end of summer, so while some of you are clinging to these last days of sweltering, miserable, dry, sweat-inducing summer let us make my favorite summer fruit pie…

cherry blackberry pie.

i wish i loved all cherry pie. there’s something so…all-american about it. like baseball. another thing i wish i liked. but i don’t. somethings you can’t change. anyway, two bites into an all cherry pie and i feel i’ve met my seasonal quota for cherries. so this delightful little pie breaks up the cherryness of cherries with the tart, texture-ful (now a word) goodness of blackberries.

also, crumble top seems suiting for optimal baked cherry enjoyment. i had a DELICIOUS cherry crumble at a friends house this summer and decided that an oatmeal crumble top made me fall in love with baked cherries.

i mean who can say no to brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, and butter. no one. that’s who.

plus when you put a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of this warm out of the oven even a summer hater like me wishes it could stay forever.

so without further ado i give you

cherry blackberry pie:

you’ll need one pie crust. you could use the one i gave you here. or you’re own. it’s whatev. as long as it’s delish. and ‘breved.

filling:
12 oz fresh pitted sweet cherries -or- one 12 oz bag of frozen sweet cherries (not in syrup) slightly thawed
20 oz fresh blackberries -or- 20 oz frozen blackberries (not in syrup) slightly thawed
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

preheat the oven to 400F.
gently mix the berries, 1/2 cup sugar, juice, and zest into a bowl and let sit for 10-15 min to let those delicious berry juices start to ruminate.
mix the cornstarch, 2 tbsp sugar, nutmeg, and ginger in a small bowl and stir into the berries just before pouring into chilled pie shell.
place pie in oven on center rack for 30 min.
meanwhile make the crumble topping:

1 cup all-purpose four
1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4” pieces.

put dry ingredients into food processor and pulse several times. scatter butter over top and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. empty crumbs into a mixing bowl and rub the crumbs between your fingers until you have large, buttery crumbs and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

remove pie from oven and carefully dump the crumble topping on top of the pie and pat down evenly.

pop back into oven at 375F for 35-40 min. keep an eye on it. if that topping starts to get too brown cover with foil for the last bit of baking.

let pie cool for an hour before slicing. serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
if you don’t eat it all the moment it comes out of the oven store it in fridge. the crumble top will get a little soggy in the fridge so probably only keep it for 2 days.

hi! hello!

9 Sep

hi! my name is leslie and this is my blog about pie. i’ve always loved being in the kitchen but baking is my favorite thing to do there and pie is what i seem to be best at and love the most. i love pie. like, seriously love it. just saying the word ‘pie’ makes me feel better about lots of things. a pie baking in the oven is the most comforting smell known to man. pie is one of those desserts that, when sliced and served warm out of the oven, will make any set of strangers feel like old friends. and very few situations are not made better by the mere presence of pie. so suffice it to say i am passionate about all things ‘pie’. and since i’m too chicken to open a pie shop anytime soon i will live that dream out here on this blog.

here you’ll find recipes for pie, experiments with ingredients, love letters to america’s favorite dessert (pie, duh), hyperbole, accidental over-use of commas and ellipsis, a lack of capital letters, and various rantings and ravings.

so, welcome! i’m glad you’re here! whether it be by accident or you’re a friend i guilted into visiting…thanks. i hope you like it here enough to come back. i really really do.

so let’s get this pie blog biz off to a good start with a recipe!

this is the recipe i use for my basic crust. it’s perfectly flaky and melty and delicious.

it’s adapted from ken haedrich’s recipe in his wonderful book pie

super versatile pie crust. makes one crust. double if your pie recipe calls for a top crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup cold veg. shortening cut into small chunks
1/4 cup cold water

i make my crust in a food processor because i’m impatient…and lazy. so this is how i do it. put the dry ingredients into the food processor (mine’s a 4 cup one but bigger is fine smaller would just be too small) and pulse it a few times. then fluff it with a fork. add the butter, pulse 5-6 times, fluff, add shortening, pulse 5-6 times, fluff, sprinkle water over top  pulse until the dough begins to form into little clumps (add a little water at a time as to not make your crust too wet). dump onto lightly floured wax paper and form into a large ball. pat into a disc and with a floured rolling pin (i like this kind best) roll into a large enough circle for your pie dish (usually about 12”). fold into dish and make the edges look fancy. then pop it in the fridge until the filling is ready or pre-bake it if that’s what your pie needs. easy…as pie even.