Raspberry pie

The month of pie ends today. Thank God. I may need a stomach pump. Here is my first raspberry pie. Pieapalooza. I prefer pie cold, but this smelled really good so I served it fresh from the oven. Perhaps there is a secret to serving a warm berry pie that does not explode all over the plate?

Today Hobby Victim came over for a day of pie making, Jem & the Holograms, and video games. We planned some truly outrageous pie. Raspberry for my house, blueberry for hers. The fillings were done the same as my last pie.

I’ve only eaten raspberry pie once. When I was small, my mom and her friend made raspberry pie at the beach. I remember picking the berries from the big raspberry cane that grew between the cottage and the cove. It was a long time ago, but I’ve been wondering for awhile if raspberry pie was as good as I remembered…

…turns out yes it is.

Raspberry pie is delicious, if a trifle messy. There may have been some plate licking.

Other pies I want to make in the future are blackberry, rhubarb, cranberry, and peach. But not right now. Am totally pied out.

What is your favourite pie?

Advertisements

Mom’s blueberry pie

Today was a glorious day! Behold!

I have learned the secret of rolling a pie crust. I could cry from happiness right now. I’ve tried so many times, and this is my first pretty pie. ^^

Before you get started:

Make your pastry in advance and chill it.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 6-8 pieces

Cost per slice: $4.33 to $3.25

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • pie plate
  • cookie tray (to catch overflow)
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin (thanks Mom!)

Filling ingredients:

  • 4 C frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • ¾ C white sugar
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • ⅛ TSP salt
  • 1 TBSP butter

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 204°C / 400°F.

2. Put a large sheet of wax paper on the counter, and set chilled pastry on it. Cover with another sheet. Cajole partner into holding the paper down firmly against the counter while you apply rolling pin. (Shout victoriously when this method works without tearing pastry to shreds, unlike all past attempts.)

3. Use a thin blade or whatever works for you to carefully work the edges of the pastry loose. Don’t pick it up, instead roll it gently around the rolling pin, and then carefully unroll it over the pie plate.

4. Place half of the berries into the plate. (Squeal in excitement.)

5. Combine sugar, flour, and salt, and sprinkle half of the dry mix over the berries.

6. Place remaining berries in the pie plate, and top with remaining dry mixture.

7. Divide butter into 4-5 pieces and place evenly on top.

8. Roll out 2nd piece of pastry, and place on top.

(Hold your breath and pray it doesn’t tear.)

(Sob with joy. Hello, beautiful.)

9. Once pastry is completely draped out, it’s time to trim away the excess crust, and use a fork to press the edges together. Poke a few holes in the top to vent steam.

(Chortle with glee at what you have wrought.)

10. PLACE THE PIE ONTO A COOKIE TRAY OR YOU WILL BE SORRY.

11. Bake 40 min. As soon as you remove it from the oven, use flat spatula to lift pie off the cookie tray, and set pie on wire rack to cool at least 15 min before slicing.

(Soak in praise from significant other.) TAH-DAH!!!

Verdict: I am victorious! Frankencrust, you can kiss my ass goodbye. Pie is officially a 2-person job in this house from now on.

I adore juicy pie. The juicier the better. This was awesome, it turned out just like I hoped it would, just like Mom’s. So happy!

I want to send a shout out to Hobby Victim for suggesting the wax paper method of rolling pastry. It worked like a charm. You are full of the good advice my friend. Next time I come visit I am bringing pie. ^^

Playlist: Radiohead

Apple pie

Last night the stars aligned, and Boyfriend and I both had the same day off. It’s a provincial holiday, so  we stayed indoors, playing video games and cooking. He made dinner and I made dessert. This is my first pie where dreaded Frankencrust did not appear. Tah-dah!

It looks much better than all my previous pies. Am so happy!

I love pie. I don’t post pie recipes, because mine are very often disappointing. It seems like I’m not the best person to give advice on how to make a pie, if my own are not up to the exacting standards I want (basically, to make a pie like my older sister makes).

This ends now. As I told Boyfriend, while we enjoyed our pie:

“Prepare to be fattened. This is the year I master pie. I’m going to do it. You’re going to eat it.”

“Okay then!”

Whoa, that is a lot of liquid. Not sure what happened there. C’est la vie. I haven’t been baking very much this month. Too busy immersed in Skyrim and the glorious side quests. Overall I’m having a very lazy extended weekend and if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read!

Patty’s peach tarts

There is only one way to celebrate Labyrinth Day on June 13, and that is by watching the movie and eating peaches!! I wanted to make a peach pastry fit for a goblin king, delicious enough to make you forget everything. But when Boyfriend brings home the wrong ingredients and the whipped cream turns into butter, will he survive long enough to taste a tart?

If you are not aware, Labyrinth Day falls on June 13 because the movie was released in June 1986, and Jareth’s clock has 13 hours. The importance of peaches should be obvious!

The only person as mad for Labyrinth as I am is Best Friend, so she was the #1 choice to discuss my dessert plans. We looked at lots of recipes, and saw some really interesting peachy things, and in the end I decided to make tarts, topped with either fresh whipped cream, or vanilla frozen yogurt. I already had heavy cream, and made up a pie crust in the afternoon.

I asked Boyfriend to pick up 10 peaches and a container of frozen yogurt, and figured I could make up my mind between whipped cream and frozen yogurt later. He returned with ten pieces of fruit, which upon closer inspection, were not what I requested.

“These aren’t peaches,” I said.

“Yes they are.”

“The skins are smooth. These are nectarines.” I picked one up.

“No, they’re peaches! They were in the peach section.” he insisted.

“Being in the peach section doesn’t mean they are peaches, darling. Didn’t you notice they’re not fuzzy?”

“It doesn’t matter anyway.” he said. “These were the  last ten peaches they had so I got them all for you.”

I examined the fruit more closely.

“No. You got the last six peaches and four nectarines, is what you got.”

“Too late now.”

What to do? Six peaches wasn’t enough, and the store was closed. Peaches and nectarines have similar characteristics, and (I hoped) complimentary flavours, so I decided to use both.

Time required: 2.5 hours

Yields: 2 tarts

Cost per pastry: $15.00

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $30.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • 2 shallow, fluted ramequins
  • 1 cookie sheet (to catch overflow)
  • deep skillet

Tart ingredients:

  • 6 peaches
  • 2 nectarines
  • 4 TBSP butter (half a stick)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ TSP cinnamon
  • smidgen of cloves
  • nip of nutmeg
  • ¼ C dark brown sugar, packed

Instructions:

Step 1 – Prepare a pie crust and refrigerate it. (I’ve mentioned this before but if you can’t make pie crust I can’t help you, I can barely help myself.)

Step 2 – Prepare the fruits: peel, core, and slice them. They will collapse during baking so don’t slice them too small.

Step 3 – In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the fruits. Once the butter has melted, increase heat until the fruit juice gets bubbly. Or you could be lazy like me and add the butter and fruits at the same time, bwahaha!

Step 4 – Once it’s bubbling, add: cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar.  Once everything is mixed in and the sugar has melted, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I have no shame in admitting that the sole reason I opted to include a smidgen and a nip was to show off my cute mini spoons! They measure: pinch, dash, smidgen, and nip.

Step 5 – Cut pastry to size and place into ramequins. Set ramequins on cookie tray. Save the remaining pastry for another use and refrigerate.

Step 6  – Discard cinnamon stick, and ladle fruit mixture into crust.

Step 7 – Bake 30 minutes, and cool on wire rack at least 20 min.

Top with whipped cream or frozen yogurt, or enjoy just the way they are.

Verdict:

Um, speaking of whipped cream… while the tarts were cooling, I made up whipped cream – except I got immersed in a book and walked away from the mixer. When I checked in on it later, my whipped cream had turned into butter.

Things were still okay because I knew we had frozen yogurt in the freezer as back-up and the tarts smelled really good. My jovial mood lasted until I opened the freezer, and then I got pissed.

“Oh darling! What’s this?”

“It’s vanilla frozen yogurt.”

“Really? Because the label says ‘vanilla with chocolate chunks and caramel’.”

“It was in the vanilla section!” he protested.

“Do you even read labels?”

In the end, I had a lack of peaches, ruined whipped cream, and the wrong flavour of frozen yogurt. Not a great start! We both glowered at each other. But it was a stupid thing to be angry over, so I told Boyfriend to eat his tart. And actually… they were really good!

Not quite what I planned, but still very tasty.  I’d make two small changes next time; halve the butter, and double the fruit.

This morning while I was writing up this post, Boyfriend – armed with Wikipedia – lectured me on the nature of peaches and nectarines.

“A nectarine is a peach. It’s a mutated peach, but it’s a peach!” he says smugly.

“Great, mutated fruit! That still doesn’t change the fact that I asked for peaches and you brought home nectarines and the wrong frozen yogurt.”

“It’s not a big deal. It’s nothing.” he said.

“Nothing? Nothing? Nothing tra-la-la!?!”

Playlist: Phantasy Star III soundtrack

Patty’s blackberry crostata (that wasn’t)

A crostata is type of pie, an Italian baked dessert tart with an open face. It has a bottom crust and a filling, but no top crust. The pastry is folded so it comes up over the edge of the fruit and forms a small rim.

I won’t write this step-by step because if you can’t make a pie already, frankly you’re doomed. Here is the abbreviated version:

  • Roll a pie crust flat and place it on a cookie sheet
  • Make filling: mix 2-3 C fruit with ¼ C sugar & 2 TBSP flour
  • Place filling on crust, stopping about 2-3″ from the edge
  • Fold the crust up and over the edge of the fruit pile
  • Use your google-fu to view methods of folding the crust
  • Bake at 218°C / 425°F for 30-35 minutes
  • Cool and devour

I made mine with blackberries, which tasted wonderful, but alas not quite so picturesque:

And it all seemed to be going so well! Until I started rolling the pastry, and then I started swearing like a sailor and shouting in rage. After it finished baking and we sampled it, I changed my mind. This tasted great. Pie + blackberries = win.

Pie crust is the bane of my existence. All of my pie crusts are uneven, torn, patched, and could not be called “round” even if you were being generous. They become something which I not-so-fondly refer to as  “Frankencrust”.

Sorry pie crust, it’s not you, it’s me.

It has to be me, because this recipe in the hands of other people works out well, which leads me to believe the problem is my pastry rolling technique, or lack thereof.  I’ve tried making the pasty in advance, refrigerating the pastry before rolling, the counter and rolling pin are nicely floured, used a chilled marble slab, rolling from the centre in the method described by others, and still no luck.

Boyfriend says I am too hard on myself, and that the taste is important, not the look. I just can’t help from wishing that I could “get it”. I want to make a pie that looks so awesome you say OMG WANT NOMNOMNOM. Not something that looks like it fell off the reject pile.

I thought a crostata was the answer I had been searching for. A pie with half the crust, how easy this will be. Hah. My cookbook has a lovely picture of a crust folded over like some ninja pastry origami, and while I knew my first attempt would probably have room for improvement, I wasn’t expect this.

If a pastry with half the amount of crust isn’t the answer, all I can do is keep trying. Boyfriend is wholly behind this idea.

Patty’s blackberry cream puffs

A flaky pastry bursting with freshly made whipped cream and tart blackberries is a wonderful way to start your morning.

It’s a good thing I love blackberries because I still have quite a lot of them. Last night I was musing over what to make with them, using ingredients I already had in the cupboard, as I was chatting with Best Friend.

Our conversation reminded me of the day in high school that Best Friend made éclairs on a whim (the first and only time she made them), and they were perfect. This led to inspiration, since a cream puff and an éclair are the same pastry, just shaped differently, and I thought the cavernous insides of a cream puff would be the perfect place to use some berries. Voilà!

My relationship with pastry is wary at best so I used a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which is available on Amazon.ca. It’s a good hardcover with a ring binding, lots of pictures and useful tips.

Time required: 1.5 hours

Yields: 12 pastries

Cost per pastry: $2.17

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • beaters and mixing bowl
  • cookie pan
  • parchment paper

getting started

Pastry ingredients:

  • 1 C water
  • ½ C butter (one stick)
  • ½ TSP salt
  • 1 C flour
  • 4 eggs

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 C heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 TBSP icing sugar
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • 2 TBSP granulated white sugar (set aside)
  • 2-3 containers of blackberries (set aside)

Good to know before you start:
Place the mixing  bowl and beaters in the fridge now to chill them for the whipped cream – some people will say you don’t need to do this but I find it helps to make a fluffy cream

Don’t stuff the pastry with the filling until ready to serve, to prevent sogginess

Instructions:

Step 1 – preheat oven to 205°C / 400°F.  Line cookie pan with parchment paper (oops, forgot to do that).

Step 2 – measure out flour and set aside.

Step 3 – in a sauce pan, combine water, butter, and salt. Heat to boiling.

Step 4 – as soon as it boils, add all the flour (don’t let it sit boiling away or it will start evaporating). Stir vigorously until dough forms a ball, and remove from heat.

Step 5 – let mixture stand on counter for 10 minutes. Then beat in eggs, one at a time.

Step 6 – drop 12 heaping spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet…. hmmmm, something is amiss!  Oh well no matter.

Step 7 – bake 30 minutes and tops should be golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer pastry to wire rack. Cool at least 40 min. (Wishing I had remembered to use parchment paper because they did stick to the pan a little.)

Step 8 – meanwhile in chilled bowl with beaters on Medium; beat heavy cream, icing sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Some people recommend you wait until the cream is beaten to add the sugar and vanilla but I wanted to get back to my Assassin’s Creed game.

Whipped cream is so easy to make, I’ll never understand why people buy it in stores when the homemade stuff is so much better.

Step 9 – wash and drain the berries.  If the berries are tart sprinkle sugar onto them and toss.

Step 10 – once pastry is cooled, use sharp knife to cut a seam near bottom of pastry, and if you look inside you’ll see it’s fairly hollow.

Step 11 – stuff those bad boys with as much whipped cream and berries as desired!! In this one, the cap of the pastry is filled to capacity. XD

Verdict: Delicious! A perfect addition to afternoon tea or to round off a meal. I suspect this will be equally tasty with blueberries or raspberries, or whatever else you fancy, or drizzled with chocolate ganache. If you have never made this type of pastry before you might be surprised by how few ingredients are required, and how quick and easy it is to make.

Playlist: Meat Loaf