Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Weight of a Pie

I never know when I'm going to come across a cool accessory for my kitchen. I'm forced to be in condition yellow at all times just so I don't miss a great find. The other day I was in Home Goods and saw a box of pie weights tucked back on a shelf amidst the dry pastas and crackers. Yippee!
You can't just walk into Target and buy this stuff!

I came right home and tested them out. The idea with pie weights is that you can pre-bake a crust without all those holes punched into the bottom of your crust. If you did nothing, then of course the crust would rise into a fun, albeit useless dome. The holes allow the steam to escape without raising the crust. To use the weights means leaving your crust intact which is important if your filling threatens to seep through the holes. Also, sometimes the holes split the crust and it comes out cracked and broken. Or sometimes the holes seal back up and your crust still rises.

I did a test and was surprised with the results. I baked two crusts, one with each method, for the same amount of time and temp (15 minutes at 400 degrees). The pie weight crust was not fully cooked and didn't brown as nicely as the poked crust. Also, one box of weights wasn't really enough for my generous 9" pan. I think each method has advantages and it depends on your pie as to which one you should use. But remember to adjust the baking time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pie Bird #2

Here is my second attempt at getting my black bird to sing. Unfortunately, it was another failure. 

I made another apple pie and used my favorite crust recipe. I cut a hole in the crust before I layed it on the top of the filled pie plate where the bird was already in place. I sealed the crust to the bird with a little milk and couldn't resist making my pie nostalgic. It took a long time to cut and weave all those strips for the nest!! Then I brushed on some milk and sprinkled sugar over all. In the pie goes into the oven for a very long stay.

After an hour of waiting for the bird to sing, I had a dark pie and a mushy filling.  It still tasted good though! All was not lost. I somehow think I'll be making plenty of apple pies with each a new opportunity to hear the bird sing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Croshaw's Revisited

I just had to stop by Croshaw's in St. George again. When I had tried the blueberry and cherry pies, I wasn't too impressed. This time I asked what the most popular flavor was and when they told me it was sour cream lemon, I was very happy to try it. And this pie delivered!! It was amazing. Just the right sweetness and tartness. Plenty of lemon flavor with the tangy sour cream chaser. Don't drive through St. George without a stop here!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post: Intern Amanda

Today we feature a special guest, Intern Amanda. As her name implies, Amanda is fulfilling her dream as an intern in Washington D.C. Check out more of her musings at Mind Blowing Adventures.
As an American I am a fan of pie and have found Pie Parade the best way to express my deepest passions: pie and America. I wear my American Flag shorts and trek it around the city looking for some pie to put in my mouth so I can take a break from singing our national anthem.

Most recently, I found myself with 4 friends at Founding Farmers and before we could recite the first 10 presidents of the United States and all the signers of the Declaration of Independence we had devoured one delicious apple pie.

The presentation was the best part for me. I like the classic pie shape because it translates so well to graph humor but can appreciate innovation because of my deep American ideals. The crust was flakey, the filling too much on the puree side than the apple slices side and not sweet enough, but the obligatory vanilla ice cream made it all work well together. The cylindrical  shape of the actual pie, however unique, led to a very crust heavy dessert. After the waiter brought out the pie a child from the table behind us tapped my shoulder and asked, with wonder in his eyes, "What is that?" That, my friend, is about American as you can get.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Can you believe how good these look? Strawberry pie is pretty much a no-brainer. I use the recipe from Betty Crocker.

Strawberry Glace Pie
9-inch baked pie shell
6 cups strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Bake pie shell. Mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in water and strawberries gradually. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; cool.

Fill shell with remaining strawberries; pour cooked strawberry mixture over top. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wannabe Collector

I guess you could say I’m a wannabe collector. Sometimes, a pretty plate inspires a certain pie. On other occasions, you need just the right plate for it’s depth, width and construction. Apple pies need deep, cream pies need wide and shallow, and pear pies need huge in every way. Here is a picture of my pie plate collection. 
In fall you’ll need the glass, the reds, the browns. But when it’s summer and the blueberries are out, nothing but a pretty white plate that’s wide and shallow will do.  
Pie plates are not that easy to come by. I’ve found them at TJMAXX and at Walmart. Sometimes Tuesday Morning will have something interesting. Since my budget is about $7 per plate, my options are limited. If you know of a good source, I’d love to hear about it.

Eli's Pie

Every great once in a while my kids get bored enough to take my suggestion and bake with me. On one Sunday afternoon, I talked Eli into making a pie crust. What could be more fun than playing with pie dough? The end result was a flaky, delicious, maybe not the prettiest, baked crust ready for a tasty filling. We filled the pie with a lemon custard recipe that Aunt Valerie invented. But I’ll let her tell about that in another post! Here is Eli’s first contribution to my pie blog:
"Today I made a pie crust.  First I had to put salt with flour.  Then I put shortening in it and I cut it up with an arch thingy.  Then I made iced water and pored some of it in the dough.  Then I used a fork to make it chunky and then I made it into a ball.  I pulled the ball apart and made it into a disk. 
Then we put flour on it and made it flatter and bigger with a pie rolly thingy.  It made my arms sore and my shoulders ache.  
I folded the crust in half and put it on a pie tin.  I had a folding crease down the middle and didn’t exactly fit perfectly.  I patched it and poked it with a fork.  Then I cooked it and it turned brown.  The pie turned out really really good."
I think he's hooked! Do you let your kids cook in the kitchen with you? 


Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Apple Pie

I love how pie crust is an artistic medium. I made two of these pies to give to friends. They were very impressed!  I made apple pie so the name would rhyme and added the stars and stripes to make them beautiful and patriotic. 

I brushed on a little milk and sprinkled with generous amount of sugar to give the crust a crispy crunch. Milk can make a crust brown too quickly, so make sure to lightly rest a sheet of foil over the pie when it looks just right. Then finish baking as normal. How have you prettied up your pies? 

Have a great 4th!