Category Archives: Fruit Pies

Late to the Pi Party

Those who live in colder climes tend to think of strawberries as a sign of summer. Living in Florida means finding local strawberries from December to April, and we are peaking right about now. Oh, yeah. Spring is in the air and strawberries are everywhere. Aren’t we lucky?

One of the first pies I made when I started this project was a Strawberry Icebox Pie. It was delicious. As of late, I’ve been itching to make a baked strawberry pie. I thought it would be the perfect pie for Pi Day, which was March 14. As you can see, I am late to the Pi party. All I can say is that it’s not easy to bake a pie after work in the middle of the week. Pies take time. No one likes to feel rushed. Pie should not make you cry.

I can say that it was worth the delay. This is one of my favorite pies I’ve made. My best pastry, yet, no doubt. The key to a tasty and flaky pastry is letting the dough rest for at least an hour before rolling and keeping it cool while working it. Don’t rush it and never let it get too soft. I put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes after rolling, after pressing it into the pan, and after crimping. After finishing the top crust, I put the pie in the freezer for a few minutes to let it firm up before sticking it in the hot oven. It’s the little things that make a difference.

I just used a standard fruit pie recipe. You can use any berries, stone, or hard fruit, really. A little lemon juice and nutmeg really bring out the flavor of the fruit without overpowering. Use more or less fruit depending if you want a smaller or taller pie. Feel free to add another ¼-½ cup of sugar, or brown sugar, if you like it sweeter or if the berries are too tart. If the filling looks too juicy after stirring, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch to thicken it a bit. I also recommend placing a cookie sheet or a spill-mat beneath the pie to catch any drips.

Baked Strawberry Pie

4-6 cups (2-3 quarts) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup sugar
¼ cup tapioca or flour
pinch salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 tbs cold butter, cut into bits

2 9-inch prepared pie pastries

Preheat oven to 425°.

Press one pie pastry into 9-inch pie plate. Place pastry in freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, toss sliced strawberries with sugar, tapioca or flour, salt, lemon juice, and nutmeg. If strawberry mixture is too juicy, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch.

Spoon into prepared pie pastry. Pour juice over top and dot with butter. Top with remaining pie pastry. Crimp edges and vent as desired.

Bake on lowest rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, move pie to middle rack and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. (I used a pie crust shield for the last 10 minutes to keep the edges from becoming too brown.)

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Time for pretty pie pictures.

Florida strawberries pose for a still life

The ingredient lineup

Hull and slice 2-3 quarts of fresh strawberries

Pour some sugar on those berries

Now pour some tapioca on there

A little freshly grated nutmeg mingles nicely with the fruit

Freshly squeezed lemon juice complements the sweet berries

Gently spoon the berries into the prepared pie pastry

Dot with butter before adding your top crust

My pie talks nerdy to me

Pretty and delicious. The baked strawberry pie is a new favorite

Advertisements

Hot Buttered Rum Raisin Pie

I must first apologize for the piatus. I started a new job (yay!) and I’m still adjusting to the schedule. It’s all good, though. I’m finding my groove and I even had time to bake two pies this past weekend, Grits and Dark Chocolate Mocha Meringue. Yum! But you already have those recipes. This post is about a new pie I’ve added to my repertoire.

Two weeks ago I finally got around to making a raisin pie. It had been on my list but I kept passing it over in favor of other pies. I like raisins, but I just wasn’t sure about a whole pie of raisins. Man, I had no idea how delicious it would be.

The raisin pie is also known as Funeral Pie. For real. From what I’ve read, it’s an Amish thing. Someone dies, you make a pie with what you have on hand. Apparently the Amish always have raisins on hand. I usually have raisins in my cupboard, too, so I had everything I needed to make this pie. Because of the timing, I also called this my Whitney Houston Memorial Pie.

I took the basic raisin pie recipe and kicked it up a notch with a little rum and more spice. Since I had Hot Buttered Rum batter on hand (recipe below), I just used that in my pie. Worked like a charm. I have the breakdown of the spices in my original pie recipe. Either way, it is darn tasty.

Hot Buttered Rum Raisin Pie

2 cups raisins
½ cup Bacardi gold rum
1½ cups water
½ cup packed brown sugar (I used dark, but light works fine)
4 tbs butter
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
1 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs cornstarch
¼ tsp salt

2 9-inch prepared pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425°.

Put raisins in small bowl. Add rum and let the raisins get drunk as you prepare the pie pastry or prep the other ingredients.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, salt, and cornstarch. Bring to boil. Stir in hot butter rum batter or brown sugar, butter, and spices until combined. Add raisins, vinegar, and rum. Return to boil and let simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until syrup thickens. Let cool slightly.

Pour filling into 9-inch prepared pie pastry. Top with second crust. Crimp edges and vent as desired.

Place pie on bottom rack and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and move pie to middle rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden. Use a pie crust shield or foil tent to keep the edges of the crust from becoming too brown. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

~ ~ ~

Now, let  me tell you about that Hot Buttered Rum. I found this recipe a few years ago and my friends loved it. Oh, my. It is a tasty beverage. I made a batch of the batter during the holidays and stuck it in the freezer. I used ½ cup, packed, for my pie. Yum.

Tony’s Hot Buttered Rum Batter
1 lb light brown sugar
½ lb unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tsp vanilla extract

To make Batter:
In a mixing bowl beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or place in your freezer until ready to use.

To make Hot Buttered Rum:
In a coffee mug combine 2 heaping tablespoons batter with 1 ½ oz. Mount Gay Rum or any dark rum. Top with boiling water and stir well to mix. Serve with a cinnamon stick.

It is best to make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to mingle. Be sure to remove batter from refrigerator an hour prior to serving to allow it to soften.

Time for pretty pictures. This was a pretty fun pie to make.

The ingredient lineup

These raisins are about to get drunk

Let the raisins soak in rum for at least 20 minutes

This just looks like black bean soup to me

Pour the raisins into your prepared pie crust

Spread the raisin mixture evenly before topping with other crust

I cut out circles to make pretty vents in my top crust

Then I carefully topped my pie with my pretty pastry

Seal the edges of pastry and trim or crimp excess dough

Now that’s a pretty pie!

I have an awesome pie crust shield to keep the edges from becoming too brown

Baked to perfection

Ginger-Pear Crumble Pie

What started as a simple project challenging myself to bake a different pie every week for a year, has turned into a project of finding unusual pie recipes and making up some of my own. I found that I like to put my own twist on the standards as much as I enjoy creating new flavor combinations.  And even though I fear some of the crazy pies I read about (a sweet, not savory, Green Tomato Pie?), I am willing to take a few risks.

For example, my friend over at Forgotten Bookmarks recently shared with me a recipe he found for Prune Meringue Pie. PRUNE! MERINGUE! PIE! That is just crazy enough for me to try. It also leaves me craving more crazy pie recipes. Do you have any unusual pie recipes to share? Please post a comment or e-mail them to mypiary@gmail.com. I will give you proper credit if I bake your crazy pie.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I recently mixed up this lovely Ginger-Pear Pie with a crumble topping. The fresh ginger gives it a nice kick. My pears were not quite ripe, so they were a little crunchy but still tasty. I added nuts to my crumble topping, but they can be omitted if you are not a fan of nuts. I happen to be a huge fan of nuts. Mmm…. Nuts!

Ginger-Pear Crumble Pie

2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs cornstarch
pinch salt
4 ripe, yet firm, Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 9-inch prepared, unbaked pie pastry

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°, with rack in middle position. Place a spill mat or cookie sheet covered with foil on the rack below to catch any drips.

In a small pan, melt butter with vanilla and grated ginger over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes, until butter is frothy and light brown. Remove from heat.

Place chopped pears in a medium bowl. Pour butter mixture through a sieve over pears. Stir and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Whisk in lemon juice, then flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir into pear mixture until combined.

Pour into a 9-inch prepared (unbaked) pie crust. Top with crumble topping and bake about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. I served mine warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

Time for a few pretty photos. Just a few. I sometimes get too wrapped up in the baking and I forget to take enough snaps. Sorry about that. I will try to be better about documenting the entire process without sacrificing the pie.

Here's the ingredient lineup

And another view of the ingredients, just because

Grate the peeled ginger right into the melting butter while avoiding grated fingertips

Evenly top the ginger-pear filling with crumb topping

Baked to perfection

Cranberry and Pear Pie

Rather than making my homemade cranberry sauce this year, I decided to make a cranberry pie. I was inspired by a recipe I found in Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts, which is a little different than the recipe on the website. Whatever. I put my own spin on it and now I’m sharing it with you. It is tart, but not too tart. I served the pie warm with vanilla ice cream and it was really, really good.

Cranberry Pear Pie

4 pears, Bosc is best
24 oz (6 cups) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tbs cornstarch or tapioca
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tbs port wine
3 tbs cold butter, cut into bits

Pie pastry, top and bottom crusts, for a 9-inch pie plate.

Preheat oven to 375° with rack in lowest position.

Peel and core pears, slicing 2 into eighths, the other into chunks. In a large bowl, toss pears, cranberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, and spices until fruit is evenly coated. Add vanilla and port, and stir until combined. Pour into pie shell and gently press fruit until evenly dispersed. Your pie will be high. Dot with butter. Top with pie pastry vented as you desire. You can simply cut slits for steam if you aren’t up for the challenge of cut-outs or lattice work. Need ideas? Martha has some for you, or be creative. I’ve spelled out words, cutout leaves and hearts, and made my own fake lattice. I like to make cutouts by hand, but you can use cookie cutters.

Bake on lowest rack for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°, move to middle rack, and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on wire rack.

Let’s look at pretty pictures now.

Posing pears and ingredients

I like to mix the fruit together before adding the other ingredients

Mmm.... Port

Your pie will be high

Another perfect pie by Miss Petunia Buttercup

I suggest serving warm with vanilla ice cream

Like Warm Apple Pie

Is it me, or is September truly the cruelest month? Oh, right. It’s not just me. Everyone agrees that we all hate September. So let’s celebrate OCTOBER and AUTUMN and all things cozy. Like warm apple pie.

Raise your hand if you do not like apple pie. OK, you? You’re just weird. No, I’m kidding. You must be a Communist. KIDDING! Sheesh, lighten up, Commie. My point is that if you love Amerikuh, then you gots to love apple pie. It is sweet, tart, spicy, flaky, and cozy. Kind of like me. Am I right?

Full disclosure: This was my first apple pie and my first homemade pastry. I actually baked this back in May, but I’ve been waiting for fall to debut the pie on my blog.

I used Julia Child’s flaky pie dough for this recipe and it worked really well. The filling was a hodgepodge of recipes. I found inspiration in “The Perfect Pie” by Susan G. Purdy and “The New American Cooking” by Joan Nathan, and then added my own bit of flair.

Petunia’s Autumn Apple Pie

8 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used 2 medium Granny Smith and 6 medium MacIntosh apples)
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbs flour
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs bourbon, sprinkled over top of apples
2 tbs butter, cut up and dotted on top of apples

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix first seven ingredients and spoon into prepared, unbaked pie pastry. Sprinkle bourbon over the top and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, slice vents for steam. I used an egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water) to brush over the crust, top and bottom, but this is optional.

Bake on the bottom rack for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, move pie to middle rack and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.

Cool on wire rack and serve with ice cream. I took it to the next level by also serving my pie with Ina Garten’s Caramel Sauce. Oh my.

My loving, biased taste-tester said that this was the best apple pie he had ever had. That’s true love right there.

Always assemble your ingredients first

Gratuitous ingredient shot

Still Life with Apples

I enjoy peeling apples. Does that make me weird?

Slices and spices

buttah!

Piled high and dotted with butter

And that, my friends, is Pie Perfection

She’s Plum Crazy Pie

Now I am just making stuff up. The end of the summer fruit season is leaving me as weary as the North Florida heat and humidity. Sure, school has started, and Labor Day is waving in the distance, but it is a far cry from feeling like fall here in the true Southern U.S.

I have an amazing stash of autumnal pie recipes itching to fall out of my recipe box but I’m still wearing shorts and sandals, so the pecans and pumpkins must wait.

A plethora of plums in the market had me searching for a plum pie recipe. Plum pie? Yeah, right. Sounds crazy. Plum crazy. I found that good ol’ Martha has a Bottom Crust Plum Pie recipe which was just ripe for revision. After spotting blueberries on sale, I knew what I could concoct to take the plums to the next level. (Never underestimate the power of the blueberry. Antioxidants in my pie! Oh my!)

Use the basic pie pastry recipe, or the pie pastry of your choice. Also, while I prefer the tapioca to control the juiciest of pies, you can also use flour or cornstarch. About 2-3 tbs to ¼ cup should do the trick depending on the juiciness of your fruit. Mmm hmm….

Blueberry Plum Crazy Pie

2 lbs (6 cups) plums, washed, halved, pitted, and sliced
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries, washed
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup tapioca
1-2 tbs fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp fresh, grated nutmeg
2 tbs cold butter, cut into small bits
2 tbs milk and granulated sugar for the top crust

Preheat oven to 400°, with rack set in lowest position. Prepare pastry as usual. Keep it chill!

Mix tapioca, sugar, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in fruit and lemon juice and let sit until the juices start flowing. Set aside as you work on your pastry. Spoon fruit into unbaked pie shell and pour liquid on top. Dot with butter pieces and top with pastry. Be sure to vent the top crust with basic slits or fancy cutouts. Brush pastry with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes on lowest rack. Lower temp to 375° and bake on middle rack for another 20-30 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Tip: Place a parchment-lined, rimmed cookie sheet beneath the pie to catch any juices that dribble out of the pie.

Cool on a wire rack for a few hours before serving.

Always make your fruit pose for you before baking

One pint of blueberries equals two cups

Slice in half, remove pit, then slice in thirds or quarters

Two pounds of plums equals about 6 cups

Half a lemon should give you 1-2 tbs of juice

Freshly grated nutmeg is the best

Just call me Madam Mix-a-Lot

So, I kind of forgot to take a few photos here while I was in the pie groove. Here’s the pie fresh from the oven. It smelled heavenly.

Made with lovin' and fresh from the oven

Oh, My Cherry-Berry Pie

Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen library Pies & Tarts book I checked out from my local library, I have created one outstanding non-sour cherry pie. I am so excited that the crust came out absolutely perfect. Hooray! I used the basic/my new favorite pate brisee. Here it is again for those late to the game:

Pate Brisee

2 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3-4 tbs ice water

Using your hands, a food processor, or stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients. Add butter and coat with flour before mixing. Mix until a coarse meal forms. You will still see pieces of butter. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough sticks together and forms large clumps. Pat dough together in a ball, cut in half, and form two discs on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours or over night. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before rolling.

Now I put my own twist on the recipe, because that’s what I like to do.

Cherry-Berry Pie

2 tbs quick-cooking tapioca
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 cups pitted cherries
1 cup raspberries
2 cups blackberries
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into bits for dotting top of pie

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out your pastry and stick in the pan, just like I’ve told you so many times before. Stick it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before crimping the edge. The secret is keeping the pastry cool. This will give you flaky, non-soggy crust. Trust me.

While the pastry is chillin’, dump the tapioca, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together, then add the cherries and the berries and mix well.  (About the pitted cherries: Easy peasy, but they will stain your fingers, so wear plastic gloves if you are prissy like that.)

Take the chilled pie shell out of the fridge and spoon the fruit into the shell. Yes, spoon it all in, then pour the liquid on top. This will also help keep your pastry from getting a soggy bottom. Dot with cold bits of butter and top with the other pastry round.

You can do a lattice-top, have a plain top crust with vents cut for steam, or you can get all fancy with pastry cut-outs. So many options!

Bake in the lower part of the oven at 425° for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°, place pie in center of oven and put a parchment-lined pan on the rack below the pie to catch any drips. Bake about 25-35 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juices are bubbling. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm with vanilla ice cream (or however you wish, but ice cream ROCKS!)

Look at pretty pictures now?

Pose for me, berries, then I will make you into pie!

Best pie pastry yet. Makes me happy

The darker the berry, right? And that buttah! Yum

All of my pies are made with love