There are still so many recipes that I want to include in the Year of Pie. I want to end it in style and on a triumphant note, especially for my Dad. As a baker I have been missing in action, first because of the extremely hot summer we have been experiencing here in Southern Arizona, and also because I became a full-time student once again as of July 1st. When I began this six month training program I thought I might be able to complete this blog on time as well. I realize now that I must focus on my studies for now. I have decided to postpone the finale of the Year of Pie until the Christmas holidays through my Dad's 91st birthday. I hope you will take a break with me, go do something else wonderful and creative, and then come back to The Year of Pie blog to celebrate its completion. In the meantime, all the recipes so far are here for you to enjoy. They aren't going anywhere. Thank you for your support!
A Cherry Pie, made from scratch, is an act of love. Pitting the cherries is a thankless task (I always worry about overlooking a cherry stone and someone breaking a tooth) and then there is the cherry juice which goes everywhere and is likely to ruin your favorite t-shirt. I wear an apron and gloves and I still worry. I would never make one except that it is an outrageously delicious pie. I like to add hints of lemon and almond extract to support the luscious flavor of the ripe cherries so abundant in July. This really is an easy pie. I make a 1 1/2 batch of the vodka pie crust. It is so reliable and the bottom of the crust is always crisp, never soggy. As you can see this is a free form crust made on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Preheat your oven to 425F.
Cherry Pie Filling
4 cups of cherries, washed, halved and pitted
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup AP flour
2 large pinches of kosher salt
grated zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
half & half
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest. Spread about 1/2 cup of the flour mix on the bottom of the pie crust. Mix the remaining flour/sugar into the cherries and add the juice and extract. Mound the cherry filling onto the flour/sugar at the center of the over sized crust on the baking sheet. Dot the top with the unsalted butter. Draw the edges of the crust up over the filling as far as possible. Fold the crust as necessary and press it down upon the filling. Surround the pie with a collar fashioned from aluminum foil This will help the pie hold its shape as it bakes. You will want to remove the collar for the last 20 minutes of the baking time. Brush the crust with half & half and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375F and bake for a further 40 - 50 minutes, remembering to remove the foil collar for the last 20 minutes. Cool for 15 - 20 minutes before cutting and serving (preferably with vanilla ice cream).
Tasting & Comments
We both ate large slices and loved it. To be honest, I had intended to make the cherry pie as a chimichanga. After all, the chimi was invented here in Tucson and there is a cafe south of Tucson on the way to Mexico that makes the best fruit-filled chimi (fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar, yum!) However, Dad preferred a more traditional pie and this Year of Pie is his 90th birthday gift. I will try to sneak in the chimi another time.
As a teenager, my first paid summer job was at an ice cream shop. It was a great spot and I had been taken there numerous times as a child by my family. Back then the ice cream was made in small batches on site. It is still there, going strong, although under different ownership. I found that working with ice cream was a strange form of aversion therapy. The two summers I worked there, up to my elbows in ice cream, I stopped eating or wanting ice cream after the first week. We worked long hours scooping cones, making Sundaes and Banana Splits, whipping up Frappes, Floats and Ice Cream Sodas, and packing pints and quarts. We even had a giant Sundae called the Belly Ache. These days I am happy with a plain scoop and my favorite flavors are coffee and real peppermint stick.
The upcoming summer holiday, July 4th, and the heat we are experiencing urged me to include an ice cream pie in the Year of Pie. I decided that it wouldn't be cheating if I made sure to learn how to make a few good sauces and share them with you. I also decided to make mini-, build your own, sundae pies since inevitably everyone likes something different. My Dad opted for a simple sundae (above), vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and peanuts. Looks good, doesn't it?
Because this is a Sundae Pie, there has to be a crust. I decided to make the simplest no-bake crust by crushing up Oreo Double Stuff cookies. The cream filling made the crumbs moist enough to pack into the mini pie tins. No need to add butter. I used the deep pot pie pans but it might be smarter to use a regular mini pan. I packed and stacked the tins and put them in a zipper bag and put them in the freezer. I decided to use the best vanilla ice cream I could find. We really like Blue Bunny. Of course, it would be much better to make your own, and absolutely you must use your favorite flavor. Since I am focusing on the sauces, vanilla seemed the best choice. Now for the sauces: first, the stunningly brilliant and unbelievably simple 2 ingredient hot fudge sauce; next, my own version of caramel sauce, and last a simple marshmallow creme sauce.
Hot Fudge Sauce
You know why this recipe is important, because when you are making a Sundae, chocolate syrup out of the bottle or can is a complete disappointment. You can certainly spend more money, add more ingredients and work a lot harder but you cannot make a better fudge sauce than this. I heard about it on a website listing a million things you can make with sweetened condensed milk. I didn't pay much attention at the time but this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it. After all, if it failed I could always buy better chocolate and put my chef brain to work on the problem. Luckily for me it works spectacularly! Here is the recipe: a (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk and 4 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate. That's it. All you do is combine them in a saucepan and heat until the chocolate melts. Stir to glossy perfection. I like to store these sauces in glass canning jars so that they can be reheated in a water bath.
I have been making caramel sauce without a real recipe for years. It is the kind of thing you can do by feel and increase or decrease depending on how much you need. I make a mixture of sugar and a little water or lemon juice. Just enough to moisten the sugar and create a sandy consistency. This mix is heated first to melt the sugar and then to cook it to the desired caramel color. An important tip when cooking sugar, do not use a spoon or spatula to stir the sugar. You do not want to encourage the formation of sugar crystals and they will form on any spoon/spatula and then be reintroduced to the mixture when you stir again. Swirl the pan to keep the sugar moving and mixing while cooking. If crystals form on the sides of the pan, wash them back into solution with a pastry brush and water. Creating 'invert' sugar by using lemon juice to dissolve the sugar or adding a different sugar (corn syrup) to the mixture will also help reduce the chance of sugar crystals forming and making your caramel 'grainy.' When the caramel is cooked I add heavy cream. This will sputter and hiss and it will look as if the sugar has seized. Keep cooking and stirring and it will combine and become smooth. Check the slideshow above for more details. You can add butter as the sauce cools if you like. It is optional. I also like to add a little kosher salt. To make this batch of about a pint of finished caramel sauce I used:
1 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsps. unsalted butter
a large pinch of kosher salt.
I have to confess that I have always used commercially produced marshmallows or 'Fluff' whenever I needed them. I decided to try a recipe for home made marshmallow sauce for this blog post. The best recipe I found online is here: http://bakingamoment.com/homemade-marshmallow-sauce/
I followed the recipe and it worked perfectly the first time. I recommend it highly and will use it again.
You will need: Water, unflavored powdered gelatin, cane sugar, light corn syrup, kosher salt and vanilla extract. You will want to have a stand mixer, a candy thermometer and a good non-reactive pan for cooking sugar. I recommend that you visit the originator's website and follow the instructions there.
The possibilities here are endless and you won't need any instruction from me. The combination of the cookie crust, ice cream and sauces already represent a very rich dessert, however, a few little additions might be acceptable. I like crushed malted milk balls and Dad likes peanuts. We both devoured our Sundae Pies and there are more shells and ice cream in the freezer. Enjoy your holiday and have an ice cream sundae pie!
This pie is for Beth, my sister, on her birthday. I don't know anyone who doesn't like blueberry pie. I confess, I even like the blueberry pie filling that comes in the can. But this recipe is created to add just the right complementary flavors to make the blueberries shine through with their best flavor. I used my Vodka Pie Crust, of course. The flavor enhancements added to the blueberries include: candied ginger, lemon simple syrup and vanilla. The recipe follows below and in the captions included in the slideshow.
Ultimate Blueberry Pie Filling:
6 cups fresh blueberries, washed
3/4 cup sugar
2 oz (by weight) candied ginger
1/4 cup AP Flour (plus 2 - 3 Tbsps. for the bottom of the pie)
a pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup lemon simple syrup (This recipe is in my previous post Lemon White Chocolate Tiramisu Pie)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 - 3 Tbsps. heavy cream
Combine the ginger, sugar, salt and 1/4 cup flour in your food processor and grind until the ginger pieces are small. Beat the egg and add the simple syrup and vanilla. Toss the blueberries with the syrup/egg mixture. Add the sugar/ginger/flour mixture to the berries and toss. Line a deep dish pie plate with the bottom crust. Sprinkle 2 - 3 Tbsps. flour in the bottom. Add the blueberry mixture. Add the top crust and carefully seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar. Cut steam holes in the top crust. Bake in a preheated 425F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake for a further 40 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling bubbles up.
Tasting & Comments:
The birthday girl liked her pie. She said "It was scrumptious. The ginger was especially good adding both flavor and a little bit of heat." Dad said " It was another triumph." I don't know about that but we certainly gobbled up our slices and may find room for more. I hope you try it.
I have made quite a few pies this year and a few of them have been special enough to be considered for my own birthday pie. Part of the decision is based on the heat we have in Tucson in the month of June. I have little enthusiasm for turning on the oven. I know I will make at least one decadent ice cream pie before the summer is over, but that is not what I want for my birthday. The Tiramisu Pie I made earlier this spring got me thinking about other flavors to pair with the ladyfingers. I am also testing all kinds of recipes that are best made with the precise temperature control possible with the induction burner. Those considerations, along with my long-standing love of all things citrus, made the decision easy. I will be making a Lemon - White Chocolate Tiramisu Pie. The recipe will borrow the ladyfingers from the original Tiramisu recipe, substitute a Limoncello simple syrup for the espresso and rum, and layer a refreshing Lemon - White Chocolate Mousse between the ladyfingers. The simple syrup and lemon curd are made easily using the induction burner. No chance of burning or overcooking.
For the Simple Syrup you will need:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
the juice of one lemon, strained
Combine these ingredients in a sauce pot that won't react to the acid in the lemon. Bring to a boil, stirring all the while. The sugar will become completely dissolved and suspended in the water/lemon juice. Remove from the heat, cool and store in a mason jar. When it is time to soak the ladyfingers, pour about a cup of simple syrup into a pie plate and add an ounce or two of limoncello.
There are lots of recipes out there for lemon curd. I learned a great one in culinary school and have been using it for years. You will find many that are thickened only by the egg yolks. I add cornstarch to make sure I have a tight curd since it will be mixed with white chocolate and whipped cream which will loosen it. You will need:
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
juice of 2 large lemons, strained
grated zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsps. unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
4 ounces white chocolate
Place the lemon zest and white chocolate in a bowl below a fine sieve. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the same sauce pan used for the simple syrup (no need to wash in between). Add the lemon juice, cornstarch and the pinch of salt and mix well. The egg yolks will thicken the mixture when heated to about 200F. I find the induction burner makes this very easy. Stir constantly and remove from heat when the lemon curd coats the back of a spoon. If you have an accurate food thermometer you can check the temp. If you are heating the mixture on a regular burner, watch it carefully, stir it constantly and do not let it boil. If it boils you will have sweet scrambled eggs and you will have to wash up and start over.
When you remove the lemon curd from the heat, pour it into the fine sieve and strain it into the lemon zest and white chocolate. Add the butter and stir until the butter and chocolate melt and are incorporated into the lemon curd. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the lemon curd and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When the lemon curd is completely chilled, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 1/3 cup sugar to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd until completely incorporated (no white streaks).
You are now ready to assemble the pie. I made the Tiramisu Pie in a deep dish pie plate. This time I used a 4 inch deep spring form pan. I lined the pan with plastic wrap to help make it easy to remove after it was refrigerated overnight. Follow the procedure in the slideshow above.
Tasting & Comment:
I knew I would love this and it lives up to every expectation. My Dad and Sister also enjoyed my birthday pie and expressed a wish to have it again and again. We are all fans of citrus flavors. I hope you will make and enjoy my birthday pie!
This recipe was provided by a friend from her memories of her mother's or grandmother's elderberry pie. I was intrigued by the recipe since it is the first I have tried with a sour cream and fruit filling. I don't have easy access to elderberries but I do have raspberries so I made a few adjustments and gave the recipe a try. I hope it turns out well. Thank you Martha B. for sharing your recipe!
Raspberry Sour Cream Pie
One vodka pie crust
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Demerara sugar
1 1/2 tsps. Vanilla
3 Tbsps. flour
2 - 3 cups fresh raspberries
pinch of salt.
Roll out the crust and line a deep dish pie plate. I used a little half & half to brush the edges of the crust and sprinkled it with some of the demerara sugar. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour into the crust. I preheated my oven to 425F and baked the pie at that temperature for 15 minutes. I reduced the oven temperature to 375F and continued baking for a further 30 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving a warm slice.
If you do have access to fresh elderberries, here is the ingredient list as Martha B. gave it to me:
2 cups elderberries
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. flour
1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon
Tasting & Comments:
O my goodness! Dad and I are in agreement: best use of sour cream, ever! This pie is luscious and fruity. It is delicious warm and I am looking forward to a slice of cold pie. Demerara sugar is less refined than white sugar and usually is available in large crystal form. I first became aware of it in British recipes. It is now easily available here in the US. The shift in sweetener and the use of vanilla instead of cinnamon supports the delicate flavor of raspberries. I hope you will try this pie now that fresh berries are readily available. I may even try this in winter with frozen berries. In that case, I will add an extra tablespoon of flour to help with the extra juices.
Long ago, before I even thought about going to culinary school and working as a professional chef, I loved making fruit tarts. I was obsessed with learning all the techniques for making these light, crisp, creamy, fruit-filled tarts. Any time I was invited to a party or event, I brought a tart. My favorite was this fresh strawberry and almond filled tart. The crust is the same Pate Sucree I introduced with the Poached Pear Tart that I did last October for the Year of Pie. Check the archives to the right to find that recipe. The tart shell is par-baked and then the frangipane filling is added and the filled crust continues to bake. Frangipane is a paste made of blanched almonds, sugar, a little egg, butter, lemon zest and almond extract. It adds flavor, sweetness and texture to the tart that is completely different from a cream filled tart. Once it is completely cooled, the tart is topped with sliced strawberries and glazed.
There are many recipes for frangipane available on the internet. My favorite can be found in a wonderful cookbook that has been on my shelf for nearly 30 years. Pamella Z. Asquith's Fruit Tart Cookbook is a gem. It was my introduction to baking tarts of all kinds and I use it still. Published in 1982 by Harmony Books/Crown Publishers, it may still be in print and is well worth having.
1/2 cup packed very finely ground blanched almonds (4 ounces)
If you are using a food processor, which I recommend, you can use blanched slivered almonds which are easy to find in the grocery. Measure the amount by weight and use the food processor to grind and mix the paste in one step. You can also make this in a blender but you might want to grind the almonds first.
1 cup sifted and then measured confectioner's sugar (4 ounces)
I weighed this too so I didn't have to sift and measure.
1 egg white
1 whole egg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp grated lemon rind
I added the nuts, sugar and eggs to the food processor and ground it to a paste. Then I added the butter and lemon rind and ground it until smooth. I added 1/8 tsp of almond extract. That is my own addition to the original recipe.
Follow the recipe in my October 2015 Poached Pear Tart recipe. When ready to bake, use a crumpled piece of parchment paper and pie weights to support the tart shape. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Fill the crust with the frangipane paste. Return the tart crust to the oven and continue to bake for a further 35 - 45 minutes. Watch carefully so that the crust does not burn. Cool completely.
Finishing the Tart
All you need to finish this tart are beautiful fresh strawberries and clear strawberry jelly. Take some time to slice the berries and arrange them on top of the baked and cooled frangipane. It is best if you cover the frangipane completely. Put a few tablespoons of the strawberry jelly in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 - 45 seconds until melted and brushable. Use a pastry brush to spread the jelly over the berries. After I finished this tart I remembered a trick I learned when I first started to make frangipane tarts. If you brush the top of the frangipane with the glaze, then glaze each layer of berries, and finally the top, your berries will stick to the tart and make it easier to serve. Your tart is ready to eat and makes a beautiful, shiny presentation. I hope you will enjoy it!
Tasting & Comments:
It is every bit as good as I remember. I love these tarts because they are not too sweet and have a great depth of flavor and texture. Such a pleasure to share. Dad gave it two thumbs up. I hope you will try this recipe.
It is finally strawberry season and one of the best pies makes great use of the fresh berries. I got this recipe, or one very like it, from a friend many, many years ago. I have lost the recipe card but I have made it so many times I can do it from memory with a few tweaks of my own. The pie is built in a baked pie shell. Of course, I used my favorite Vodka Crust. I blind baked the crust using beans as pie weights to help the crust hold its shape during the bake. Check out the slide show for information about blind baking.
The building of this pie begins with the Cream Cheese/Ricotta Cheese layer in the bottom of the baked crust. I make it with:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Combine in a small bowl and beat together with a spoon. It is fairly stiff until the ricotta is well mixed with the cream cheese and then it will be soft enough to switch to a whisk to complete the mixing. Cover and hold in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pie.
The pie crust must be completely cooled before adding the Cream Cheese/Ricotta Cheese layer or it will melt and make the crust soggy. Next you can prepare your strawberries. Reserve enough large, whole berries to cover the top of the pie (see photos). The rest of the berries will be chopped for the next layer. The chopped berries are mixed with 2 Tbsps. of sugar, a pinch of kosher salt and 2 Tbsps. Chambord (raspberry liquer), covered and held in the refrigerator until assembly. The last ingredient is strawberry jelly. I use this as a glaze over the top of the berries. It is easy to melt in the microwave. I put 2 or 3 large spoonfuls in a heat proof bowl and heat it for a minute on high. The jelly will be hot (be careful!) and easily spreadable using a basting brush. Please make this pie a day ahead and give it several hours or overnight to chill in the refrigerator. Your pie will slice better if you do. Because Dad and I couldn't wait, I sliced into it right away and it was messy but delicious. Dad likes this pie because it truly showcases the freshness of the berries. He ranks it up with his favorite, apple and his second favorite, rhubarb. High praise indeed!
My ultimate Spring berry pie. It combines all the currently available fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries) and the first cherries of the season to appear in the grocery store. Not exactly seasonal since we import much of our fruit from Central America, but that is no reason to fail to make a tasty pie! I completed the filling anticipating a great deal of juice from the berries. I used some of the proportions from my Grandmother's Rhubarb Pie recipe; increased the amount of flour; and adjusted the spices to suit the fruit. I used the addition of an egg beaten with corn syrup as well. I think it enriches the flavor and texture of the filling. I am using my favorite Vodka Pie Crust but using half butter/half shortening instead of all butter this time. Dad and I anticipate enjoying this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Very Berry Cherry Pie Filling
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, cut in quarters
6 oz (approx. 1 1/2 cup) fresh raspberries, washed
6 oz (approx. 1 1/2 cup) fresh blackberries, washed
2 cups fresh cherries, washed & pitted.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
Mix the berries & cherries. Mix the flour, sugar, salt & cinnamon together and set aside. Beat the egg & corn syrup together and set aside. Roll out the bottom crust and fit it into the 9" deep dish pie plate. Spoon 1/3 of the sugar/flour mixture into the bottom of the crust. Add 1/2 of the berry mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining sugar/flour mixture. Add the remaining fruit and top with the remaining sugar/flour mix. Pour the beaten egg mixture over the filling and dot the top with the butter cut into small pieces. Roll out the top crust and cover the pie. Crimp the edges and cut steam slits in the top. The top crust may be glazed with 2 Tbsps. of half & half and sprinkled with sparkling sugar. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for a further 40 - 45 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve warm with ice cream.
Tasting & Comments
It was a fortunate choice to increase the flour in the pie filling. This is a very juicy pie. The berries and cherries each lend their own color and perfume to the pie and the taste is luscious! I like the fact that the blackberries especially remained whole and distinct within the filling. I was thinking that fresh ginger or vanilla or lemon zest might also be excellent substitutes for the cinnamon. Any way you make it, this pie is a winner!
3 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut in 1 inch pieces. (I had 4 cups and used it all)
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour (next time I will double the flour)
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Mix the dry ingredients together and hold in a small bowl. Beat the egg and corn syrup together and set aside.
I made a two-crust batch of the Vodka pie crust. Roll out the bottom crust and fit in the 9" pie plate. Scatter 3 Tbsps. of the flour/sugar mixture on the crust and then add half the rhubarb. Sprinkle half the remaining flour/sugar mixture over the rhubarb. Add the remaining rhubarb. Add the remaining flour/sugar mix and the beaten egg with corn syrup. Dot the filling with the butter and apply the top crust. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for a further 45 minutes. Cool somewhat before slicing. I like to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a warm slice of this pie.
Taste and Comment:
This is Dad's second favorite pie, after Apple, of course. It is a thoroughly satisfying sweet/tart, juicy pie. The crisp vodka pie crust supports it well. I sprinkled the crust with sparkling sugar before baking. The only adjustment I might make would be to increase the flour added to the filling to thicken the juices a bit more. The ice cream adds to the luscious flavor of the pie and should not be left out, if at all possible. I hope you will try it soon while fresh rhubarb is readily available. I should mention that rhubarb freezes well in single pie quantities. I must make space in our freezer.
Be a Part of TYOP!
To contribute an unusual or favorite pie recipe for testing and possible inclusion in The Year of Pie Recipe Blog, please email your recipe to: pie@grandmashomebakery