So I Made Pie

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked with a dear friend. Years, to be honest. In fact I think the last time we hung out I could have killed us both if it weren’t for Jane stopping us before we left the bar parking lot. Not the brightest decision I ever made, the angels were watching over us that night. It was a fun night of bad karaoke, Jack Daniels and a polka if I remember correctly. Years leading up to that had plenty of good times, shooting clays in the gravel pit, four-wheeling and so on.

A lot has changed since then, life sent us other directions which is expected. The news a few years ago that a pace maker was needed was a surprise. More recently the news of him in need of a heart transplant caught me completely off guard. It’s not news that you hear every day or if you’re lucky never in a lifetime and especially about a friend so young. I sent a message “we’ll be praying for you” and that’s what we did. What else is there to do in a situation like this?

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Good but not Great Pi

Since the last Pi day (3.14) my math skills have not improved, in fact they have probably gotten a little worse. I know my fractions well enough to convert my baking recipes and I can balance the checkbook. Any more than that and I need a calculator at the very least. I still only know pi is 3.14 and a whole never ending list of numbers to follow. Not once have I ever knowingly applied the numbers in any life situation, but I don’t pass up an opportunity to make pie either!

This year I tried a new recipe. It was ok, not what I had hoped, but edible. I made a cherry almond pie with a heavier frangipane and frozen cherries in the crust from the Croatian Turnip Green Tarte. My biggest complaint is it needed more cherries and less frangipane. I really like both, but I was really hoping for a heavier cherry presence in the pie. A little more cherry “goop”. Instead it was almost a cake-like filling in a pie crust. Good, edible, but not what I had hoped.

All was not a complete disappointment with the pie though. It was the first pie I baked in the “new” wood stove. We (Mike is very excited to use the stove too) kept a steady temperature of 375 degrees. The pie baked for a little over an hour before we let the fire go out and the pie cool with the oven. It came out with a perfect golden crust, the filling was cooked through. It could not have turned out any better especially considering it was the second thing we have baked in the oven so far and the first pie.

While the pie was baking we set the percolator on the stove and made the best pot of coffee. Piping hot and delicious! I don’t know what it is but percolators but they make the best coffee and when it’s over a campfire or wood fire cook stove it has an even better flavor.

Cherry Almond Pie
Cherry Almond Pie
Hot out of the wood cook stove.
Hot out of the wood cook stove.
Too much cake not enough cherry "goop".
Too much cake not enough cherry “goop”.
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Lemon Whey Pie- with SCD and GF version

Honey Lemon Whey Pie

I love bold fall flavors all year long; cinnamon, cardamom, molasses and pumpkin just to name a few. Come mid March I’m ready for any sign of spring. This year its pie. If you haven’t tried making my homemade yogurt yet, now is the time. I found a recipe in an old church cookbook (I kinda have a thing for those), and gave it a try. I ended up changing a few things. It’s a very easy recipe and will use up some whey too.

Here are two versions of my recipe. The first is a traditional pie, wheat crust, cornstarch thickener, cream of tartar in the merengue topping. The second is a grain-free, SCD version. I have a hell of a time getting the SCD version to look as pretty as the traditional because the filling doesn’t set up until after the topping has been added and baked. It’s kind of disappointing but it still tastes like traditional lemon merengue, which is really nice!

Honey Lemon Whey Pie
Print Recipe
Servings
1 pie
Servings
1 pie
Honey Lemon Whey Pie
Print Recipe
Servings
1 pie
Servings
1 pie
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 cup Butter cold and cut in small chunks
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Water cold
Filling
  • 1 1/2 cup Fresh Whey
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 3 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 each Egg Yolks save the whites
  • 2 tbsp Butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Zest
Topping
  • 3 each Egg Whites
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 tbsp Sugar
Servings: pie
Instructions
Crust
  1. Combine the flour and salt. "Cut" in the butter using a pastry blender or fork
  2. Add a very little bit of water at a time. Knead the dough lightly while adding the water.
  3. When the dough comes together, stop adding water.
  4. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough about a 1/4 inch thick and place in your pie tin.
  6. Bake at 375 until lightly browned.
Filling
  1. Combine 1/2 cup whey with the cornstarch and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan combine 1 cup of whey with the honey. Bring to a boil and add the cornstarch and whey.
  3. Stirring constantly until it thickens.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients except the egg yolks.
  5. Temper the egg yolk mixture and combine.
  6. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Pour into the pie crust.
Topping
  1. In a stand mixer whip the egg whites until frothy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients as the mixer is on low.
  3. Turn to medium high and whip until shiny peaks form.
  4. Gently top the lemon filling with this.
  5. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Cool before serving.
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Lemon Whey Pie -SCD and Gluten Free
Print Recipe
Servings
1 pie
Servings
1 pie
Lemon Whey Pie -SCD and Gluten Free
Print Recipe
Servings
1 pie
Servings
1 pie
Ingredients
Filling
  • 1 1/2 cup Fresh Whey
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 1 packet Gelatin unflavored
  • 3 each Egg Yolks save the whites
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 tso Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Zest
Topping
  • 3 each Egg Whites
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Honey
Crust
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 3 tbsp Butter melted
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 each Egg
  • 2 tbsp Honey
Servings: pie
Instructions
Filling
  1. Combine 1/2 cup of whey and the egg yolks and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, bring 1 cup of whey, butter, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add the honey. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Temper the egg yolks and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the gelatin and stir to dissolve.
  6. Pour into the baked crust.
Topping
  1. In a stand mixer whip the egg whites until frothy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients as the mixer is on low.
  3. Turn to medium high and whip until shiny peaks form.
  4. Gently top the lemon filling with this
  5. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
Crust
  1. Combine everything and spread into a pie pan.
  2. Place in the freezer until the oven has preheated to 375 degrees.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes.
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3.14=Pie?

apple pieπ= 3.14 Yep that is all I  remember from math class. So today I choose to celebrate Pie day rather than Pi day because…let’s be honest I would rather bake and eat pie that try to do unnecessary math.

Apple pie is one of the best comfort foods I know. It has to be good apple pie, no store bought filling or crust. A good pie, no matter the kind needs to be made from scratch using whole ingredients. It has a buttery flakey crust and lots of filling. There is a pie for every day and celebration; another reason pies are great.

This is my favorite pie crust recipe. It’s nothing fancy but it lends itself to any flavor. You can add spices (or herbs for savory pies) to give it a little something extra or leave it plain for a good old fashioned crust.

Old Fashioned Pie Crust
2 c.     Whole Wheat Flour
1/3c.    Butter, cold and in chunks
1/4 c.   Water, cold
Kosher Salt
Sugar (this can be left out for savory pies
Combine the flour, butter and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, break the cold butter into pea-sized chunks. Add the water, mixing only until a soft dough forms. This will take more than a 1/4 c. but I always start with that and add a couple tablespoons at a time. *See Note. Divide the dough into two, flatten into a thick disc and place on a pan and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Once rested, roll the dough about a 1/4 inch thick. (It can be rolled thicker or thinner to your liking.) Place in your pie pan and continue with your pie recipe. This can be prebaked if needed or filled and baked depending on the recipe.

* Note- The amount of water needed will vary depending on the humidity, which changes the moisture content in the flour. It will also change depending on the four you use. I like to grind my own, each ground flour you buy will vary just the same. It’s best to start with the small amount of water, adding little by little until you reach the desired texture.

** Tip- Do not over knead or mix the dough. It will get tough very easily and will lose the nice flakey texture you want.

Cinnamon Pie Crust
This is so simple and yet so good. My mom would make this some afternoons, it would be hot out of the oven when we got off the bus from school. The house would smell like warm cinnamon;  it was the best snack.

1 Old Fashioned Pie Crust, rolled thin on a cookie sheet
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 400 degrees until light brown.
It’s at it’s best hot out of the oven, but good anytime.

Anna’s Apple Pie Filling
I don’t usually measure my ingredients for this, but I did make an effort this time to give you a good idea of what I use. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
8             Large Apples- two or more different varieties
1/4 c.      Brown Sugar
1 tsp.      Kosher Salt
1 tbsp.    Cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tbsp.     Lemon Juice
1/3 c        Butter, cut in small chunks
Vanilla (I never measure vanilla, just a splash)
1/4 c.       Flour (this is optional, adding it will make a thicker sauce in the pie, but it works well without too)
Peel and thinly slice the apples. Toss with the rest of the ingredients. Place into the Old Fashioned Pie Crust (unbaked). Top with the second rolled out crust. Fold the dough over itself around the edge and pinch together. Poke holes in the top with a small knife.
Beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Brush this lightly over the top crust. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake at 375 degrees until you can see the top crust slightly rising and falling from the bubbling filling, roughly an hour.

Old Fashioned Pie Crust
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Old Fashioned Pie Crust
Print Recipe
Ingredients
  • 2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup Butter cold and cut in small chunks
  • 1/4 cup Water cold
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Sugar (this can be left out for savory pies
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, butter and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or fork, break the cold butter into pea-sized chunks.
  3. Add the water, mixing only until a soft dough forms. This will take more than a 1/4 c. but I always start with that and add a couple tablespoons at a time. *See Note.
  4. Divide the dough into two, flatten into a thick disc and place on a pan and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  5. Once rested, roll the dough about a 1/4 inch thick. (It can be rolled thicker or thinner to your liking.)
  6. Place in your pie pan and continue with your pie recipe. This can be prebaked if needed or filled and baked depending on the recipe.
Recipe Notes

* Note- The amount of water needed will vary depending on the humidity, which changes the moisture content in the flour. It will also change depending on the four you use. I like to grind my own, each ground flour you buy will vary just the same. It's best to start with the small amount of water, adding little by little until you reach the desired texture.

** Tip- Do not over knead or mix the dough. It will get tough very easily and will lose the nice flakey texture you want.

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Anna's Apple Pie Filling
Print Recipe
I don't usually measure my ingredients for this, but I did make an effort this time to give you a good idea of what I use. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
Anna's Apple Pie Filling
Print Recipe
I don't usually measure my ingredients for this, but I did make an effort this time to give you a good idea of what I use. Feel free to adjust to your taste.
Ingredients
  • 8 each Large Apples two or more different varieties
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup Butter cut in small chunks
  • splash Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Flour (this is optional adding it will make a thicker saucethe pie, but it works well without too)
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Peel and thinly slice the apples.
  2. Toss with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Place into the Old Fashioned Pie Crust (unbaked). Top with the second rolled out crust.
  4. Fold the dough over itself around the edge and pinch together. Poke holes in the top with a small knife.
  5. Beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Brush this lightly over the top crust. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees until you can see the top crust slightly rising and falling from the bubbling filling, roughly an hour.
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