Monday, November 30, 2015

Shortcut

 

I've always liked meringue, but it look me a really long time to figure out how to succeed at meringue when it was used as a pie topper. If you still can't succeed at meringue on pies, this recipe is for you.


Easy Lemon "Meringue" Pie

Ingredients:

1 deep dish frozen pie crust (9 inch pie crust)
1 box (4.3 oz) Jell-O Cook and Serve Lemon Pudding and Pie Filling (as well as the sugar, water, and egg yolks called for on the package)
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup milk
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip Whipped Topping

Directions:

Bake pie crust according to package instructions. Let cool.

Prepare lemon pudding and pie filling according to package directions. Once pudding and pie filling is set, spread into the bottom of the pie crust. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the "meringue."

Microwave marshmallows and milk in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are completely melted, stirring after 1 min.; stir until blended. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until completely cooled. Whisk in Cool Whip; spread over pie. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Source: This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the Kraft website. I made quite a few changes. You can find it here.

Notes: The original recipe called for a crumb crust made from Nilla wafers and a filling that used Jell-O (not the pudding, the gelatin). I was worried about the Jell-O filling and that it might be too much like Jell-O. Well, I was right. I made the recipe found on the Kraft website and was disappointed. It was jarring to have an almost Jell-O layer in a pie. Plus, the crumb crust was all wrong. The "meringue," however, was spot on. It is an amazing stand-in for meringue. It is a little sweeter than real meringue, but it is very similar...and much easier and faster to make than real meringue. I felt that this had potential, so I made it again the week after Thanksgiving and substituted a regular frozen pie crust for the crumb crust. The combination of the lemon and the meringue just needed a flaky pastry crust instead of a crumb crust. I also missed the more traditional lemon filling, so I substituted the package of lemon pudding and pie filling for the Jell-O concoction that was called for in the original recipe. I really loved how it turned out. It was refreshing, light, and delicious. Good stuff!

Friday, November 27, 2015

We're Not the Only Good Cooks

 

My family is full of good cooks. We know good food when we taste it. However, of course we aren't the only good cooks out there! It's so fun to try traditional foods from other families too. Plus, it's so fun to share these recipes. My sister-in-law's family is full of awesome cooks. Here is one of their recipes that I tried and loved years ago and finally got a copy of this year.


Steadman Family Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

2 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 green onions
1 jar of dried beef
Pecans

To decorate like a turkey:

1 Slim Jim (jerky stick)
1 spaghetti noodle soaked in red food coloring
Green and yellow food coloring
Pretzel sticks

Directions:

Chop green onions, dried beef and pecans.

Mix cream cheese, green onions, and dried beef togeteher. Roll into a ball and then roll in the pecans.

For turkey:

Put the Slim Jim in the cheese ball for the turkey's neck and head.

Color a little bit of the cream cheese green and yellow. Use cream cheese to create two green eyes and the beak on the Slim Jim.

Put pretzel sticks into the cheese ball for the turkey's tail feathers.

Source: This is a Steadman family recipe. It was recently shared here.

Notes: I rolled my cheese ball in chopped almonds since my son is allergic to pecans. It turned out great. Also, life is crazy with a new baby and I didn't have time to shape my cheese ball like a turkey, but be sure to check out the link above because it looks really cute as a turkey. This is really delicious. It makes for a great appetizer to satiate those pre-Thanksgiving dinner appetites!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Did You Forget to Thaw the Turkey? Bake it from Frozen!

 


If you are like me, you either forgot to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator five days in advance, or it is hard to make room in the refrigerator when you have so many other Thanksgiving feast items and ingredients in there.

Well, Thanksgiving isn't ruined. You can bake your turkey from frozen! This isn't a fancy turkey, this is a "get the job done" turkey. You won't be able to brine this turkey or inject all sorts of fancy seasonings, etc., but you will have an actual cooked turkey to serve if you blew it in the thawing department.

Here the the sources I found to back this up:
  1. Williams-Sonoma blog
  2. the kitchn website
  3. The Mayo Clinic (of all places!)
  4. Wikihow 
Here's what you do:

 

Cooking a Frozen Turkey

Ingredients:

Frozen turkey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Unwrap turkey and place in roasting pan. No need to wash turkey. Bacteria won't have time to grow.

Place the turkey in the oven and bake for two hours. After two hours, check to see if the turkey is thawed enough to remove the giblet packet. If the packet is a paper packet, you can actually cook it in the turkey, but if it is plastic, it has to be removed, otherwise it will melt. If the giblet packet is plastic and it melts, it will contaminate your turkey with harmful chemicals and you will have to throw the whole thing out (packet, turkey, and all). My packet was made from paper, but I still opted to remove it. I wasn't able to remove mine until around the three hour mark though. I never did get the neck out (until I was actually cleaning the bones after carving the turkey), however, the neck can safely cook inside the whole time.

From completely frozen to completely cooked, your turkey will take about 50 percent longer to cook than normal. So, if you have a 21 pound turkey (like I did) that would normally take about 5 hours to cook, you have to add a 50 percent longer cooking time--or 2 1/2 hours--for a total of 7 1/2 hours of cooking time.

The turkey cooks as it thaws, and all bacteria that might have an opportunity to grow as the turkey usually thaws has no opportunity to grow and do any damage when you bake the turkey from frozen.

The skin on my turkey started to brown pretty early, so I tented it lightly with a little aluminum foil to keep it from over-browning and drying out.

You will want to use a meat thermometer to test different parts of the bird, but when all of your readings come out at 165 degrees or higher, your turkey is done.

Estimated Cooking Times for Frozen Turkeys:

8-12 lb. turkey: 4 to 4 1/2 hours
12-14 lb. turkey: 4 1/2 to 5 3/4 hours
14-18 lb. turkey: 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 hours
18-20 lb. turkey: 6 1/4 to 6 3/4 hours
20-24 lb. turkey: 6 3/4 to 7 1/2 hours

Source: The four websites listed above.

Notes: Surprisingly, my turkey was well done throughout and yet still quite moist. The moisture frozen within the turkey acted as a natural basting process as the turkey cooked. This worked great!

On the actual day of Thanksgiving this year, I made my turkey in a slow cooker (I bought two full turkey breasts and cut out the backbone and fit them into my two slow cookers). However, I had bought a full turkey to make around Christmas time just so we could have turkey sandwiches. I ended up getting a terrible cold right before Christmas break and I was too sick and tired to cook a turkey. I ended up making the turkey in February! It was a very last minute decision. One morning I thought, "I should see if I can bake a turkey from frozen." When I found out I could, I thought, "Great. I am getting that turkey out of my freezer and baking it today. We are having turkey sandwiches for dinner tonight!"

Oh, and since one of the sources is the Mayo Clinic, you know this has to be a safe thing to do!

Also, I didn't think to take a picture of the finished turkey before I started carving it, so the only pictures I have were after I sliced the turkey up to put it in the fridge.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 5

Time for the 2015 Pie Sunday Finale! Have you had your fill of pies yet? Well, either way, here are the last of our 2015 Pie Sunday discoveries.

 

PMc's Buttermilk Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (9-inch) frozen or homemade unbaked pie crust (not deep dish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together sugar, flour, butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla until well-combined. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. The center will jiggle slightly, but will set as it cools. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.

Source: Call Me PMc. You can find it here.

Notes: This was one of my favorites. So simple, and yet so good.


 

Maple Chess Pie

Ingredients:

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust 
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon maple extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in the cornmeal, vinegar, and maple extract until well-blended. Fold in pecans so they are evenly distributed, if using. Pour into the unbaked pie crust.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown, and the filling is set. When removing the pie from the oven, give it a gentle shake. If there is no movement, the pie is set. The pie will thicken and shrink slightly upon cooling.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by David Robinson. You can find it here.

Notes: This was another favorite. This was so good. On Allrecipes, the author said, "I was in the middle of making a Chess pie and realized I was out of vanilla extract. I substituted some maple extract I had on hand, added some pecans, and the result was delicious. This pie is decadent and rich, so fortunately, a small slice will do. I think this would be a great pie for Thanksgiving. Top with sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping, if desired."

We omitted the nuts due to my son's tree nut allergy. It was fantastic.

 

Southern Brown Sugar Pie

Ingredients:

1 pound light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare pie pan with pie dough.

Whisk together eggs and add in sugar, butter, and vanilla.

Whisk together until combined well and smooth.

Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Watch the pie crust during baking. You may need to cover crust with aluminum foil to prevent crust from browning too much.

Source: Pizzazzerie. You can find it here.

Notes: This was another one of my favorites. It's very rich though, so heads up! This is a little like a pecan pie without the pecans.


Chocolate Chess Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 (14.1 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts (1 sheet)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole buttermilk, at room temperature, shaken
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate shavings, for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pie crust into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Prick bottom and sides of dough with fork.

Bake 10 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Beat at medium speed with a mixer until combined. Add buttermilk, melted butter, cocoa, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Bake until a knife inserted near edge comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes (cover pie crust with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary). Let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve topped with whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Source: Taste of the South Magazine. You can find it here.

Notes: I wish I had gotten a picture of what it looked like when it was sliced. This was very yummy.


Pineapple Coconut Chess Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (3.5 ounce) package flaked coconut
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Stir in butter, coconut and pineapple. Pour filling into pie shell.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cover with aluminum foil after 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by Krystina. You can find it here.

Notes: Of the two pineapple pies (the other one is below), this was my favorite. The pineapple helped it set up and hold shape better. I loved the addition of the pineapple and this one wasn't overly sweet.


K and W Buttered Coconut Pie

Ingredients:

2 extra large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1 (7 ounce) bag flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Directions:

Mix the eggs and sugar together. Add the butter and mix until well-combined. Add the salt, cornstarch, and milk and mix until incorporated. Finally, fold in the coconut.

Pour into the unbaked pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until set.

Cool completely.

Source: Food.com, submitted by Austin12. You can find it here.

Notes: We needed to bake ours longer because it didn't completely set. This was delicious, but it was really, really sweet and rich. A little goes a long way!


 

Above: Goodbye Pie Sunday! We shall meet again in 2016!

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 4

The pies aren't done yet! Are you ready for some more pie recipes? Well, here they come!

 

S'mores Pie

Ingredients:

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 container (7 oz) marshmallow creme
6 whole (1.55 oz each) Hershey's Chocolate Bars
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until combined, then add egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder.

Divde the dough in half.

Press half the dough in the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan.

Evenly spread the marshmallow creme over the bottom crust. Separate chocolate squares and place on top of the marshmallow creme.

Place the mini marshmallows on top of the marshmallow creme.

Using the remaining crust, pat sections of dough on top of and around all the marshmallows. You will not be able to completely cover all of the marshmallows, but that is what you are going for.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chocolate chips, then bake 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove pan from oven and set it on a wire rack.

Cool completely before cutting, or it will be too sticky and messy to cut.

You can also warm each serving (or leftovers) up in the microwave to melt the marshmallows and chocolate.

Source: Wishes and Dishes. You can find it here.

Notes: This is more like a giant s'mores blondie in pie form than an actual pie, but it is still delicious and it was a fan favorite and one of the first pies to go!


 

 Snicker Caramel Apple Pie

Ingredients:

1 pie crust
3 green apples, diced
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
15-20 mini Snickers, chopped
2 1/2 cups Cool Whip
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 oz. softened, cream cheese (or you can substitute 4 oz. vanilla pudding)

Directions:

Combine Cool Whip, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl. Fold in apples and chopped Snickers.

Pour mixture into pie crust and refrigerate at least four hours. 

Prior to serving, top with fresh apples (chopped or sliced) and a few chopped Snickers for garnish, if desired. Finally, drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Serve immediately.

Source: I Heart Nap Time. You can find it here.

Notes: This is an homage to that Snickers and Apple "Salad" that you find at pot lucks from time to time...where it is basically Snickers, Apples, and Cool Whip stirred all together...it gives salads a bad name, but it is pretty tasty, nonetheless.


 

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely measured
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole rolled old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking or instant)
One (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
One (9-inch) frozen pie crust
Homemade caramel sauce or store bought caramel ice cream topping
Ice cream, whipped topping, or whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the egg; then add the egg, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine until batter is smooth.

Add the flour and oats. Stir to incorporate. Fold in the apple pie filling. Pour filling mixture into frozen pie crust and lightly smooth filling with a spatula. Place pie crust on a cookie sheet or aluminum foil (in case the filling overflows while baking).

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until top is golden and filling has just set and is not jiggly. When you remove the pie from the oven, the filling might have risen, but as it cools, it will flatten out.

Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. You can top your pie with ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped topping, or whipped cream, if desired.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Source: Averie Cooks. You can find it here

Notes: People were divided on this one. Some people didn't care for it, while others liked it. I thought it was good. Not my most favorite apple pie I have ever had, but still tasty.

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 3

These pies were some great fruit pies that we enjoyed this past summer. I think you will enjoy them too!

 

Creamy Lime Pie with Fresh Berries

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups finely crushed gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
4 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Topping:

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons apricot preserves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix crushed cookies, sugar, and flour; stir in butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, lime peel, and lime juice until blended. Beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Stir in cilantro. Transfer to crust. Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or until filling is firm.

Just before serving, arrange berries over pie. In microwave, warm preserves just until melted. Brush over berries.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 piece equals 441 calories, 21 g fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, submitted by Anneliese Barz. You can find it here.

Notes: I did a double take when I saw cilantro in the recipe. At that point, we just knew we had to try it. It was fantastic. So, so good.

We used a store bought graham cracker crust, and it was great, but I would totally make the gingersnap cookie crust next time. Or you could do a homemade graham cracker crust.



Raspberry Sour Cream Pie

Ingredients:

2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups raspberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/4 cup butter, chilled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and lemon colored. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, flour, and salt together. Stir into egg mixture. Gently fold in raspberries. Pour filling into 2 unbaked pie crusts.

Bake the pies without the topping in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center begins to set. While pies bakes, make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and nuts, if using. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside.

Sprinkle pies with topping and return to oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

Source: Allrecipes, submitted by Cathy M. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good. We didn't use walnuts because of my son's tree nut allergy, but he isn't allergic to almonds or macadamia nuts and either nut would be great here. I honestly can't remember which nut we substituted since it was awhile back, but I think we used macadamia nuts.


 

Strawberry Lemonade Freezer Pie

Ingredients:

1 store bought graham cracker crust
1 tub low fat Cool Whip
1 (12 ounce) can lemonade concentrate
1 can low fat sweetened condensed milk
2 cups strawberries (frozen or fresh), chopped
1/4 cup sugar
20 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Lemons and Strawberries for garnish, if desired

Directions:

In a food processor, combine strawberries and sugar and pulse until well combined. Set aside.

Mix together Cool Whip, lemonade concentrate, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth and creamy.

Pour lemonade mixture into pie crust.

Pour strawberry mixture over lemonade mixture and swirl into the top using a knife. You might not need to use all of the strawberry mixture. Be careful not to overfill your crust.

Freeze for approximately 8 hours or overnight, until well frozen.

Slice and serve.

Source: The Cookie Rookie. You can find it here

Notes: This was nice and refreshing. It's a nice pie to keep in your freezer to have on hand if you take dinner to someone last minute.

 

Citrus Sour Cream Pie

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstartch
2 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 graham cracker crust (9-inches)

Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated orange peel
Optional fruit toppings: mandarin oranges, sliced fresh strawberries, and sliced kiwifruit

Directions:

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, orange juice, milk, and lemon juice; stir into sugar mixture until smooth.

Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or just until mixture reaches 160 degrees, stirring every minute. Cool to room temperature; press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate until chilled.

Fold in sour cream; pour filling into crust. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie. Sprinkle with orange peel; top with fruit, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 piece (calculated without fruit toppings) equals 386 calories, 23 g fat, 113 mg cholesterol, 155 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 4 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: We were drawn to and intrigued by this recipe because it was made using a microwave. This was absolutely delicious. Be sure to use a thermometer to make sure it reaches 160 degrees. Ours didn't set up quite as much as the picture of the one on Taste of Home. However, I think it just needed to cook a little longer. If your mixture isn't thickening, you can always try increasing the cornstarch as well. This was so yummy though. A definite winner.

We didn't top ours with fruit (just for the sake of convenience since we had a whole lot of pies to prepare), but I think it would be a nice touch for the future (aesthetically and taste-wise).

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 2

I was going to try and post all of our pies in one blog post, but it was getting overwhelming, so I decided to break things up! It is probably a good thing for me and for you, the reader.

 

Easy Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (20 squares)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Grated lime peel for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press in bottom and up side of 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.

In large bowl, beat milk and lime juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and thickened. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into cooled pie crust.

Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until set. Store in refrigerator.

Source: Betty Crocker. You an find it here.

 

Notes: This was so easy and my husband fell in love with this pie. It is his new favorite pie. The flavor is mellow, creamy, mildly tart, and delicious. These pictures don't really do it justice (darned bad winter lighting). I'll have to make it again sometime in the summer and take better pictures.

 

Luscious Lemon Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

Filling:

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 medium lemons)
3 cups whipping cream
4 drops yellow food color, if desired

Directions:

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, mix condensed milk, lemon peel, and lemon juice; set aside. In large bowl, beat 2 cups of the whipping cream and the food color with electric mixer on high speed until stiff.

Fold lemon mixture into whipped cream just until blended. Spoon into crust. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours until set.

In medium bowl, beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Spoon dollops on pie or slices of pie when serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

Source: Pillsbury. You can find it here.

Notes: After making the Easy Key Lime recipe above, I was drawn to this recipe because of how similar it was to the Key Lime recipe. This one was just as delicious. Rather than rolling out my own pie dough, I used a frozen pie crust and cooked it according to the package directions. You can also make this with a graham cracker crust too rather than a pastry pie crust (because it still tastes great, and it is a time saver), but it is great both ways.


Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Directions:

In small bowl, stir together crumbs and sugar. Add margarine or butter. Stir until combined.

In 9-inch pie plate, evenly spread crumb mixture. Press onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Or bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until light brown. Cool.

Fill as directed in recipe. Makes 8 servings.

Source: I got this off of the back of a box of Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs. You can find it online here.



Award Winning Peaches and Cream Pie

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (3 ounce) package non-instant vanilla pudding mix
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained and syrup reserved
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease sides and bottom of a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. mix in butter, egg, and milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into pie pan. Arrange the peach slices on top of the pudding mixture.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup. Beat for 2 minutes. Spoon mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of pan edge. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and sprinkle over top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Chill before serving.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by Debbi Borsick. You can find it here.

Notes: This was more cake-like than pie-like, but it was very tasty.

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 1

 

We like our pie. We like our pie so much that we usually have a summer pie night and a fall/winter pie night each year. I have combined our summer and fall 2015 pie discoveries for the next few blog posts.

 

Lemon Chess Pie with Berry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Berry Sauce:

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened mixed berries, thawed and drained
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

Place the flour, coconut, and salt in a food processor; process until blended. Add butter; pulse until mixture is the size of peas. While pulsing, add just enough ice water to form moist crumbs. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 1/8-inch-thick circle; transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.

Bake at 400 degrees on a lower oven rack for 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 6-9 minutes longer, or until crust is light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice, cornmeal, lemon peel, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in butter. Pour into crust. Cover edge with foil to prevent overbrowning.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove foil. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate, covered, for 3 hours or until chilled.

For sauce, in a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook until syrup is reduced to 1/4 cup; transfer to a small bowl. Cool completely. Just before serving, stir in berries and lemon juice; serve with pie. Yield: 8 servings.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

 

Notes: This was really good with and without the sauce.

 

Crack Pie

Ingredients:

Pie:

Store-bought or homemade graham cracker pie crust
1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe included here)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Crack Pie Filling:

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar, granulated
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup corn powder (corn powder is defined as freeze-dried corn, ground to a fine powder--1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour may also be used)
1/4 cup milk powder
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks

Directions:

Graham Cracker Crust:

Prepare your own favorite recipe for two 9" graham cracker pie crusts, or use a store bought graham cracker pie crust.

Crack Pie Filling:

Mix the dry ingredients for the filling on low speed. Be sure to keep your mixer on low speed during the entire process of preparing the filling. If you mix on a higher speed, you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey. Add the melted butter to the mixer and mix until all the dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks to the mixture until just combined. use the filling immediately.

Pie Assembly:


Place both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts (the filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full) and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. At 15 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325 degrees F. Depending on your oven, this will take 5-10 minutes. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven temperature reads 325 degrees F, close the door and finish baking the pies until they are still slightly jiggly in the center, but no longer jiggly around the edges, anywhere from 5-15 minutes or more.

Gently remove the baked pies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or up to overnight to create a more dense final product. Just before serving, finish with a dusting of confectioners' sugar.

 

Source: We found this recipe on a blog called Averie Cooks.  You can find it here. She adapted it from a recipe in a book called Momofuku Milk Bar, which you can find here. Her version of the recipe is long, verbose, and very detailed. I am including the recipe here only as we made it.

Notes: Averie Cooks suggested skipping the homemade oatmeal cookie pie crust and using a store-bought graham cracker pie crust and just using the recipe for the filling instead. That is what we did--which is why the crust recipe is not included here. If you would like to see that, be sure to check out the link for Averie Cooks above. She also didn't use corn powder and just used 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

My personal suggestion is to skip the homemade pie crust from the original recipe (it sounds good, but waaaaaay too involved and there are a lot of better things you could do with your time), and instead of going the easy route like we did with a store bought graham cracker crust, meet in the middle with a homemade graham cracker crust.

 

Easy Dulce de Leche Pie

Ingredients:

One homemade or store-bought 9 inch graham cracker pie crust
Two (3.4 oz each) cans dulce de leche (such as Nestle La Lechera)
Sweetened whipped cream

Directions:

Prepare graham cracker pie crust (if making a homemade crust, which I highly recommend).

Once pie crust has cooled, carefully spread dulce de leche on the bottom.

When ready to serve, top with sweetened whipped cream.

Source:  The inspiration for this pie came from a cookbook I have, which you can find here. This cookbook recipe made homemade dulce de leche in a slow cooker, but I opted to go the easy route and just buy canned dulce de leche.

Notes: I didn't actually make this for our pie night. I made this for a family gathering on my husband's side and no one touched it because everyone was dieting. I had so much left over, but I couldn't bear to throw it out, so I decided to see if I could freeze it. To my delight (and detriment), I discovered that this pie freezes amazingly well and is even edible (and still soft and chewy) right out of the freezer. Now I need to start dieting to work off this pie! Delicious stuff though.

 


Caramel Pie

This pie is time consuming and takes some patience, but it is worth it!

Ingredients:

4 T. cornstarch
1 ½ c. water, divided
2 eggs separated
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 baked 9 inc. pie shell
1 T. sugar

In a bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with ¾ c. water. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with high sides, cook ¾ c. sugar over low to medium heat until it is completely melted and a golden brown color (increase the heat if the sugar takes a long time to melt. Don’t stir the sugar until the majority has melted on its own. Stirring too early will cool the sugar and make it take longer to melt).

Once the sugar is completely melted, add the remaining ¾ c. sugar, the butter, and the remaining ¾ c. water. This may create a cloud of steam, so stand back while you are adding the water!.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

(Usually, once the second batch of sugar is added with the water, the first batch of melted sugar hardens and becomes a ball of caramel candy. Try to break this up as best as you can. Stir this mixture—including the hardened caramel—until everything has dissolved. You may have to remove the ball of hardened caramel if it does not completely melt. But give it some time, because it usually does melt—or at least it shrinks considerably.)

Stir the cornstarch/egg mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring it constantly. Continue to boil slowly until the mixture thickens about 2 minutes.

Take the mixture off the heat, stir it until smooth, and let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

To make a meringue topping for the pie, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1 T sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue on top of the pie filling, spreading it right up to the edge of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the top of the meringue is delicately browned. Chill the pie before serving. Can be topped with whipped cream instead, if desired.

Source: The Anne of Green Gables Treasury, ISBN 0-14-017231-9, published 1991. You can find it here, and the 100 year anniversary edition here.

Notes: We've posted this recipe before. You can find the original post here. It takes awhile for the sugar to melt and caramelize, and you have to watch it closely, but this is such a yummy and unique pie. Feel free to use a little more corn starch if the mixture isn't setting up. But don't use too much because it will diffuse the caramel flavor of the filling and change the whole texture and flavor of the pie. I stink at making meringue, so I almost always top this with whipped cream and it is fantastic! I also like to make this a day in advance to really allow the caramel time to set up (store in refrigerator overnight without meringue or whipped cream topping). Top with meringue or whipped cream just before serving.

Here's what I do to streamline this process:

I like to have multiple bowls prepared before I start any cooking on the stove top.  You don't want to be measuring anything while you are cooking the caramel because the process moves fast and if you move too slowly, the caramel can burn (soooo easily) and you will have to start over. Believe me, I've been there.

Bowl 1: 4 Tbsp. cornstarch, 3/4 cup water, 2 egg yolks
Bowl 2: 3/4 cup sugar
Bowl 3: 3/4 cup sugar
Bowl 4: 3/4 cup water (have 1/2 cup aka 1 stick of butter on hand, or you can even melt it and add it to this bowl of water)

Here is the shortened version of this recipe:

Prepare bowl 1 (the cornstarch mixture) and set aside until the end. Pour bowl 2 into saucepan and melt sugar. Once sugar is melted, add bowl 3 (second half of sugar) and then immediately add bowl 4 (water and butter). Once sugar and butter is completely melted and incorporated (and after removing any hard lumps of sugar that refuse to melt back down), add bowl 1 (cornstarch mixture) and boil on medium to medium low heat until thickened. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and pour into prepared pie crust.

 

Above: This is what the caramel pie looks like without any toppings right after you pour it into the pie crust. As I mentioned above, I like to give the pie some time to sit so the caramel can set up. I prefer to make this the day before serving it. You can serve the pie plain, or top it with whipped cream, or bake a meringue topping on top. After it sits, some of the butter will rise to the top, so it is definitely prettier with a topping, but when you first pour it in, the caramel is just gorgeous.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Directions:

In small bowl, stir together crumbs and sugar. Add margarine or butter. Stir until combined.

In 9-inch pie plate, evenly spread crumb mixture. Press onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Or bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until light brown. Cool.

Fill as directed in recipe. Makes 8 servings.

Source: I got this off of the back of a box of Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs. You can find it online here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's a Sign of the Season


 

I just have to make at least one thing (or five) with pumpkin during this time of year. However, with a new baby, I needed a shortcut. This is the perfect shortcut for pumpkin bread (unless you want the ultimate shortcut of picking up some pumpkin bread through the drive through at Kneaders).


Cake Mix Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkijn
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Stir cake mix and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat pumpkin, eggs, and milk with the cake mix mixture until you have a smooth batter. Stir chocolate chips into the batter, if using.

Pour batter into prepared bread pan.

Bake bread in preheated oven until top is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-70 minutes.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by paisleyorchid. You can find it here.

Notes: This tasted just like the bread at Kneaders, so I was satisfied. Besides that, my quick bread recipes are unreliable up here on top of the mountain I live on because of the high altitude. If I use a cake mix, my bread is guaranteed not to fall.

The recipe found on Allrecipes had the option to create a smaller loaf of bread and 24 mini muffins. I didn't want muffins, so I just poured it all into one loaf pan. As a result, it needed a long time to bake. I pulled mine out of the oven at around 60 minutes...but I should have left it in for another 10 minutes or so.