oh my! blueberry pie!

pie oh my

Preheat oven to 375°

I have given you basic pie dough recipes before, and they are on the blog.

Sometimes even I take a shortcut- If I do not feel like rolling my own dough out, I purchase Marie Callender deep dish pie crusts.  They are in the frozen section of your grocery store. I did that this time.

Filling:

Ingredients:

5 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries washed and drained
1 1/4 cups of Florida Crystals Demerara Sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
1 generous teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
The zest of one medium-size lemon and the juice of half of that lemon

In a large mixing bowl mix all the filling ingredients listed above together. Fold gently and thoroughly you’re not mashing anything.

Set bowl to the side

Crumble topping:

1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Florida Crystals Demerara  Sugar
1 cup Quaker quick oats (plain not flavored)
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter cut into little bitty squares
1 1/2 f teaspoons of cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon of cardamom

Use a  pastry cutter or pair of forks to blend the topping ingredients together until soft crumbles form- Crumbles should be relatively uniform in size. Put the topping in the refrigerator for half an hour to 45 minutes.

Before you put the pie together, if you are using a fresh or frozen pie crust now is the time that you use a little  softened butter In a light coat and spread gently on the bottom of the crust in the pan. It keeps the crust from getting soft. It is a tip I picked up from watching Chef Robert Irvine on TV- used to use the Martha Stewart egg white painted along the bottom of the crust, but I like this better.
ghk-marie-callednder-pie-crust-1109-s3-mdn
Fold your berries into your deep dish pie crust and spread the crumble topping evenly on top – I tend to be slightly mounded in the middle of the pie crust. Do not overfill your pie crust or your oven will hate you later.

I make a light tinfoil piecrust covering edge for my pies before I put them in the oven, or you can use one of those pie baking rings .

Another tip: Because this is a fruit pie I generally cook it on a cookie sheet Or a shallow pan like a jellyroll pan in the oven- That way it saves on spills later

Bake the pie at 375° for  approximately 50 to 55 minutes, depending on your oven.

Pie will smell delicious and you’ll see some of the blueberries bubbling through the crunchy topping when it is ready.

When the pie is  finished put it on a baking rack to cool, which ideally should be at least four hours so the filling sets.

fl crystals
Pie is best served the day it is made I think, and should be served at room temperature. You can serve plain or with good vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

I will note that this organic Florida Crystals Demerara sugar is exceptionally good for baking fruit pies with – I tried it on a whim once because they said so on heir packaging, and guess what? They were right.

The final note is I have never written this pie recipe down before, so I hope the proportions are correct. To me baking fruit pies is like making homemade pasta – have done it for so long it is sort of instinctive – I grew up around people who cooked and baked – so from trial an error I just sort of learned if stuff felt right and so on.

Enjoy!

 

do you dream in buttercream?

Well I don’t actually  dream in buttercream, but it makes for a jazzy sounding post title.

So I have been working and working on a buttercream frosting worthy of posting and I accomplished it with a birthday cake I baked last weekend.

So here it is:

Dreamy Vanilla Rosewater  Buttercream  Frosting

(frosts a 9 inch layer cake and 2 -3 dozen cupcakes depending on how frosted you want things)

1 cup of butter softened (1 stick salted, 1 stick unsalted)

4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar

7 teaspoons of half and half (maybe a smidgen more, maybe a smidgen less depending on what you want)

1 Teaspoon of rosewater (as in used for COOKING)

1 1/4 Teaspoons of a good vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Combine butter, sugar, and salt until well blended and smooth (use a mixer and use a large bowl and don’t splatter)

Add half and half and vanilla and rosewater and beat until smooth – between 4 and 6 minutes.

Come on people, how easy was that?  Why use frosting in a can?

You can add a couple of squares of unsweetened baking chocolate melted to turn this frosting chocolate.  You can add about 2/3 cup of shredded sweetened coconut to make coconut dream frosting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pie on the fly

Shoo Fly Pie Plate – total kitch but would be fun to own!

One of my grandmothers was Pennsylvania German.  So I have a dash of Lancaster County Cooking in my gene coding.

Today I thought “Shoo-Fly Pie”.

Shoo-Fly Pie is a molasses based pie.  I have seen some home cooks now cooking it in a chocolate crust, and well, to me, taste-wise that might work with pecan pies, but would be serious sweet confusion in a Shoo-Fly Pie.

My pie is different because I add a little spice to it – otherwise it is too bland.  I am also picky about purchasing a Shoo-Fly Pie, because a lot of the time unless it is a really good baker it is a gelatinous bland blob in a pie plate with crumbs on top.

Now I committed a cardinal sin today and did not watch my pie, so it sort of exploded on top.  That however, could be covered up with a piping of unsweetened or lightly honey sweetened whipped cream if I was serving it for company, but I think once I slice it, the only one who will be bothered if it is not perfect is me.

Today another issue I had was I did not feel like rolling out my own crust so I used a  graham cracker crust I had in the cupboard to use it up.  The flavors will work, but there is nothing better than a traditional homemade flakey pie crust.

Also, use a deep dish pie plate, and if you use a pre-made pie shell, spend the extra money for a deep dish pre-made shell.

Shoo-Fly Pie

1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (9 inches)

1 cup flour (regular flour with no additives, preferably organic)

1 cup brown sugar (dark is best, light will do)

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup hot water

1 egg

1 cup molasses

dash Mace

dash Cinnamon

dash Allspice

First pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together flour and brown sugar.  Add dashes of spices referenced above, lightest dash should be allspice.  Use a pastry cutter and cut in the butter.  Keep on “cutting” until the mixture is fine crumbs and uniform.  Take 1/2 cup (dry cup measure) of crumbs and put aside in a little bowl.

In another bowl first dissolve the baking soda in hot water – not boiling, just hot tap  water.  Add molasses and beat.  Beat in the egg.  Mix well, it will be flat looking yet sort of fluffy. (Not like meringue where it stands up, just a fluffy-frothy appearance)

Take your ooey gooey wet and pour into the large bowl of crumbs and beat it in.

Pour mixture into pie shell.

A shoo-fly pie recipe found on the web

Top with the crumbly mixture I told you to put aside in a little bowl.  Spread the crumbs evenly over the top by hand but *DO NOT* try to smooth out unless you want your crumbs disappearing like they were swallowed by quick sand.

Place on a baking tray lined with parchment and place *carefully* in oven – the hardest thing about making a Shoo-Fly Pie other than watching it so it doesn’t “explode” is getting it in the oven without sloshing it out of the pie shell.

Bake for about 35 minutes.  Cool on a rack a couple of hours before serving.  Refrigerate left-overs.

Today I ignored my pie as I was speaking to a friend on the phone.  It exploded.  I put it back together and I am not thrilled, but if you look at photos of Shoo-Fly pies on the Internet, exploding is common.

If you want to do a sweet crust or a graham cracker or a vanilla wafer crust with this kind of pie, that works.  But trust me if you use another recipe, ignore the ones that call for chocolate.  It is too wrong a taste, and I say that as a chocolate fanatic – I love chocolate, but not in Shoo-Fly Pie.

but honey, I need a cookie

When I was little my mother tells me that one time I wanted a cookie and she said “no”.  Apparently, my reply was “But honey, I need a cookie.”

So the twelve-year-old in the house has been away visiting relatives out-of-state and I decided he might want some fresh-baked cookies when he gets home.  After all, you are never too old or too cool for a cookie.

I made my peanut butter cookies, and lucky all of you, the recipe is as follows for you to try yourselves – trust me you will love them.  They are chewy in the middle, crunchy outside and delicious!

Peanut Butter Deluxe Cookies

Pre-heat over to 300 degrees.

2 cups flour

1/3 cup oatmeal (as in plain, not flavored) 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

healthy dash green cardamom powder

healthy dash cinnamon

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 cup Domino’s Demera Washed Raw Cane Sugar 

1 cup of salted butter (soft, not melted)

3 eggs

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

bag peanut butter chips (the Reese’s brand is 1 1/3 cups)

back of Heath Bar toffee chips (also on the smaller side) 

Cream butter, both kinds of sugar together.  Until the proverbial fluffy (it doesn’t really look fluffy but that is what they say when you cream, right?) Alternate adding eggs one by one with peanut butter and vanilla.  Blend for a couple of minutes – start on low, and work up to medium with hand-held mixer.  (And wear an apron, or you will end up like me today, which was wearing batter and there will be no photo on that!)

In another bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  You can sift together if you want, I don’t.

Mix the two bowls together – I usually find it easiest to add the dry to the wet ingredients bowl.

Add the chips (toffee and peanut butter)

Drop by teaspoonful 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  I use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets on my cookie pans.  And I prefer the shiny silver AirBake insulated cookie sheets, just for the record.

Bake for 17 to 19 minutes depending on your oven.  My oven today decreed 19 minutes a batch .

Cool on cookie sheet on a cooling rack for a couple of minutes before moving cookies to a cooling rack to cool down completely.  Keep repeating until batter is gone.  I got like five dozen cookies out of the recipe today.  Store in a cookie tin and they will keep a couple of weeks if they are not devoured by then.

sunday morning is for baking

Well, even out here where there is plenty of green and trees between houses, the misplaced sound of a buzz saw way before 8 a.m. will jar you awake.  Such was the case with me, so I decided to get some baking out-of-the-way for later.

It’s Lemon Pound Cake day.  I found this recipe in Real Simple that I tweak:

Serves 12   Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and  baking powder.                             
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.   Beat in 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.                             
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until  combined (do not overmix).                             
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 75 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.                             
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 of the remaining tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth, adding  the remaining lemon juice as necessary to create a thick, but pourable glaze.  

Ok so above is the recipe straight.  I fiddle with everything, and what I do here is I add the zest of TWO lemons to the batter, I add grated fresh ginger, and I do a lemon soak before the glaze;

My lemon soak is juice of 2 lemons, grated zest, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and a couple of tablespoons of a liqueur called Framboise (right now I have an US Framboise out of Bonny Doon Vineyards.)

What I do is I line my pan (or pans as the case may be) with parchment baking paper after I do the grease and flour, so I can hike the cake or cakes out the pan or pans.

Anyway, I cool the cake or cakes post baking for 10 minutes, maybe a few longer.  Then I pull them out of the pan gently, peel down the parchment paper and allow to cool for 30 minutes all in all on a baking rack on clean parchment paper.

I then poke little fork holes up and down the cake (no need to make hamburger out of the top, so be neat!) and gently pour the lemon soak goodness over the top of the cake.  You will see today where I have propped up the new clean parchment paper with a single toothpick on each end of my cakes so the lemony-sugary goodness doesn’t run all over.

After that has all soaked in and everything is set I will either make a glaze or light lemony flavored royal icing and drizzle it over the top, or I also sometimes just dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving and adorn my platter with fresh mint sprigs and nasturtium blossoms. Today I soaked, I adorned with lemon royal icing, dotted with Nasturtium blossoms and mint sprigs.

In other fun of the day, my arugula is growing unmolested, apparently the blasted squirrels only liked the lettuce.

Remember you can still nominate this blog for a Country Living Magazine Blue Ribbon Blogger Award until July 29th, 2012.  I hope you can do that for me, and you can also read about the contest more HERE.

And in the nesting of it all, thanks to Food Network I have discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I am still not sure if her rancher hubby likes the cameras all over, but she has some terrific recipes. She has a website called (of course) The Pioneer Woman.  I am also digging Trisha’s Southern Kitchen with Trisha Yearwood.  Her website is here.  I also love Barefoot Contessa, but she has been all re-runs lately.  I used to watch Nigella Lawson a lot, but I got tired of the odd Euro pop music in the background and the fact they seemed to have an obsession with seeing her on camera raiding her fridge late at night.  But she has some great recipes.

I love to cook, and do collect old cook books.  And the bibles Mastering The Art of French Cooking are worth it to have in your collection.  Julia Child taught me to do roast chicken and many other basics.  There are also books by a woman named Kitty Maynard – American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbooks that never disappoint (mine are so tattered, I really should replace them.)

Cooking is also somewhat instinctual.  Almost everyone in my family cooks.  My late father was a fabulous cook.  I had one grandmother who was Italian and one who was Pennsylvania German.  I also learned a lot from an Italian Great Aunt, Millie, whom I still miss to this day.  Millie was a trip and if she was worried about her figure, she used to cut out the coca cola that she used to have in the afternoon for a while.  And my maternal grandmother? No one, not any diner on earth could make meringues on pies go as high or be as perfect as my mumma’s were.

As a kid, I soaked this all up.  I did not realize at the time I was soaking it all up, but I did.  My cooking style blends my heritage of Italian, Irish, and Pennsylvania German.  I can go haute or keep it simple.  I actually have a handful of  recipes uniquely my own  on Scribd, including my epicurious.com award winning Sunday Pasta Sauce – yes I actually won a contest on this!

I should probably  write down more of my recipes, like my chocolate chip cookies or various incarnations of gnocchi, traditional bolognese, sweet potato soup, crab mac and cheese, cranberry sauces and chutneys, apple and fruit butters, and pies, salads, and such, but most of my cooking is out of my head – a little this, a little that, judging flavors and textures.  And when I use recipes, I am bad, I will often have several recipes open and cook from multiple recipes at one time for one meal.  I am also the cookie fiend at Christmas, so I am happy to adopt any old cookie tins as I find them, especially vintage ones.  (Speaking of which, I need to start hunting for those tines soon – I gave too many away last year during cookie craze!)

Enjoy your day people. I am going outside.