For Your Pies Only

Happy Pi Day! Bake up with a pi pie pan

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                          Happy pi day everyone!

I hope you all have a mathematically wonderful 3.14 day. Today is pi day, not to be confused with National Pie Day on January 23rd. While this day is more about math and less about pie, who doesn’t like another excuse to have a slice of pie?

In the summer of 2013, I noticed on Twitter that someone was tweeting about a Kickstarter for a pi pie pan. I was really excited as when I previously made a pi shaped pie, I had to make the mold myself from aluminum foil. Pi Pie Pan supporter Garrett Heath (@pinojo) reached out to me and asked if I would like to try one of these new pi pie pans. Of course I said yes! 

These pans are great. You can use them for all sorts of baking wonderfulness. Pies, brownies, quiches, pan pizzas, the pie is the limit with these pans! And no, they did not pay me to say that, nor did they ask me to write this post, I am just excited that a quality product like this exists. So if you are in the market for some wonderful and irrational pi(e), this pan is for you!

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When making pies with this pan, my only advice would be to make a bit extra filling. In this cherry pie recipe, it originally calls for 4 cups of cherries, but I used 6 for the actual pie to fill it to the top. You can use the same pie dough recipe that you may normally use.

If cherry pie isn’t your style, but you would still like a delicious pie on pi day, you could try making a square pie (get it? pi r squared?) and try this square Shepherd’s Pie which will also help you kick off your St. Patrick’s Day weekend if you’re celebrating. Or you can also head on over to my pal Cam’s blog: ‘Culinary Adventures with Camilla' where she has a full list of different kinds of pies by awesome bloggers.

Will you be celebrating pi day? Feel free to link up your pie recipes in the comments!

Nutter Butter Nutella Pie

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Right before Thanksgiving, one of my Facebook friends posted the recipe for a Nutter Butter Nutella Pie by Crazy for Crust. It looked so amazingly delicious that I decided to make it for Thanksgiving. The results were sinfully decadent. I used a bit more whipped cream in my peanut butter layer than the original recipe called for. And definitely take Dorothy’s (from Crazy for Crust) advice: throw this puppy in the freezer for optimum serving goodness.

Head on over to Crazy for Crust and check out this recipe and many others…and then run, don’t walk to make this pie. You won’t regret it!

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Maple Whisky Spice Pie

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When making goodies with maple syrup, I always like to use copious amounts of nature’s nectar. Bonus when adding booze. Am I right? Welcome to maple whisky spice pie. 

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I’ve been wanting to make a maple pie for ages, but never found a recipe that seemed to inspire. Then I found Crown Royal’s Maple Whisky and knew the time was right to make this sweet dream come true.

If you like maple sugar candy and you like whiskey and you like pie…then this is the dessert por vous!

Maple Whisky Spice Pie (adapted from John Phillip Carroll)

Ingredients

  • single flaky pie crust
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups pure dark maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons maple whisky
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roll out the dough and place into the pie pan. Trim and decorate the edges as you see fit. Prick the bottom several times with a fork. Brush lightly with one egg and a splash of milk (optional). Prebake crust for 12 minutes. Take out and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Put butter in a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Add flour mixture and beat until evenly mixed. Add the egg yolks and beat again until fully combined. Whisk in maple syrup and whisky. Add cream and whisk mixture until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 325°F and continue to bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove pie and set aside to cool.
  5. Allow pie to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
Caramel Apple Butter Pecan Pie

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Sometimes things come together in a perfect storm. As I sit and listen to the winds of Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm/Noreastercane outside, inside I am enjoying a slice of this much more pleasing mixture of ingredients in my new Caramel Apple Butter Pecan Pie…in a cinnamon graham cracker crust of course!

I must be honest…I love butter…in fact, I love BUTTERS…salted, unsalted, compound butters, nut butters, and FRUIT butters! That being said, when Musselman’s contacted me to see if I would like to create a recipe using their delicious apple butter, I jumped at the chance!

I was not fully prepared for the party in my mouth this pie brings. It came out so well in fact that I think it will be gracing my Thanksgiving table this year!

You want to know what the best news is? Musselman’s is giving one of YOU, my lovely readers, your very own jar of apple butter! Or, if you can’t wait to see if you’ve won, Musselman’s also has a limited time offer coupon that you can use to grab a jar pronto.

If you would like a chance to win a Mussleman’s prize pack including a jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter, a hand-crafted kitchen tool and recipe cards to make your own delicious fall treat, please leave a comment telling me what you would make with your own jar of apple butter.

You can earn a second entry by following me on Twitter and leaving me a comment saying that you’ve done so or that you already do (thank you!).

Contest ends November 9th 11:59PM EST. Winner will be drawn at random.

Caramel Apple Butter Pecan Pie

Ingredients

Cinnamon crust

  • 1 ¼ cup cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar

Apple butter filling

  • 2 cups apple butter
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

Pecan crumb topping

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup caramel
Directions

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Pennsylvania Peach Pie

peach-pie-baking-recipe-pennsylvaniaMomma said good things come to those who wait. When it comes to peaches, nothing could ring more true. Once upon a time, a peach farmer told me the sweetest, juiciest, best peaches come at the end of the summer and I’ve heeded his advice ever since. Then last summer I went to the Big Summer Potluck in Pennsylvania and had my first Pennsylvania peach…think, peach to the next level, to the nth degree, peach turned up to 11!! When the weekend ended and there were leftovers, I packed as many peaches as I could fit into my basket and savored them.

Baking has been a challenge as of late. I’ve been busy with the full time job, performed for sold out audiences in a local production of Avenue Q, and I’m still adventuring with that handsome Irishman along with other general summer goodness. When all the madness quieted down and I was prepping for a first weekend with no plans other than baking, we had a rainstorm, and a “brown-out”/power outage. Thank you mother nature for frying the computer in my oven, rendering it useless. *insert big sadface here*

However, when I saw Pennsylvania peaches in the supermarket, I knew I needed to beg, borrow, or steal time with an oven as I would NOT let summer pass without making them into a pie.

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Pennsylvania Peach Pie

Ingredients

  • Basic flaky double crust pie dough
  • 5 large Pennsylvania peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/3 inch slices
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions 

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/gas 7.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon together. Add peaches and toss until fully coated with the sugar mixture.

Roll out bottom crust and put into 9-inch pie pan. Pour in fruit. Roll out top crust and place on top, making small cuts to vent for steam (or create a lattice like I did). Brush top crust with milk. 

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Rotate pie 180° so the pie facing the back of the oven now faces the front. Place tinfoil around the edges if the crust is browning too much. Bake for another 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the juices thicken. Optionally, you can sprinkle sugar on the top of the pie 15 minutes in to baking at the reduced heat.

Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving…if you can wait that long! 

Bluebarb Cherry Pie

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Greetings pie lovers, I cannot believe we are almost in May! Impatient for summer, I baked a blueberry rhubarb cherry pie. It baked a little runny, but the pie fairy delivered it to the declaration of “All the better to eat with ice cream!”. I have discovered that people love pie in any form. Don’t worry, I’ve altered the recipe to ensure yours does not have the same fate. *smiles*

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The weather has been so very up and down. Some days have been cold and dark and dreary, causing me to want to stay home under the covers of my bed watching movies. Other days have been in the 70’s and 80’s and then I throw on a sundress or my running sneakers and spend as little time as possible in front of a computer screen. It has been great for my rhubarb patch!

But you didn’t come here looking for weather reports…on to the good stuff! 

Back in December, I declared that 2012 was going to be a great year. Here is the tally so far: 

  • Reuniting with an old friend
  • My first trip to Texas
  • Upstate NY/NYC shenanigans with my younger brother
  • Lots of time outdoors with the awesome weather
  • Training for my first 5k
  • Attending the 140cuse conference with great social media speakers!
  • Getting cast as Christmas Eve in Avenue Q
  • Being a smitten kitten and falling for an Irish Scotsman (he cooks, I bake…*swoon*) ♥  

        

Oh, and did I mention we’re really important people nerds?

        

There is even more goodness in store in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, bake this delicious pie and treat yourself to a little ice cream with it. *wink*

Bluebarb Cherry Pie 

  • A basic flaky double crust
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or thawed from frozen) 
  • 2 cups dark cherries
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped into small 1/4” pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

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Salmon Potato Leek Pie

Wait, there are only four days left in the month of February and this is the first recipe I’ve posted? Shame on me! You may have been wondering where I’ve been (or maybe not, but I am going to tell you anyway).

Probably the biggest change in my life has been my commitment to getting healthier in 2012. I’ve been working on it for a while, but instead of working out 1-2 times a week, I’m now hitting the gym 3-5 times a week. I downloaded a Couch to 5K app to my iPhone, logging my calories/exercise/weight loss on my LoseIt app, and have been using them simultaneously with my RunKeeper app. I pin at least one inspirational item every morning and every night to my Pinterest fitness board just to set myself in a positive mindset.

                  

I’ve also signed up for my first 5k run. In May, I will be running the Komen Race For A Cure (I know, I KNOW). I signed up literally right before the news broke of their less than awesome actions. While I won’t be fundraising for them, I am keeping my head in the game because this is for me. I’m not putting this off any longer.

I now sleep better, I have more energy, different pains have gone away, and I am a 24 hour smile party due to all the endorphins. The weight loss is a bonus; only a couple pounds away from losing 40 pounds!

But never fear! I am still baking quite a bit, just taking one slice instead of two (or three) now. I’ve also been in search of the perfect brownie recipe so I’ve made several batches in the past month.

       

It’s been a while since I’ve had a savory pie on the blog and this one is inspired by a salmon pie I ate by the seaside in Whitstable, UK. Watching the sun set on one of my last nights in England over the summer; it was one of my favorite food memories of 2011.

Salmon Potato Leek Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe for a basic double flaky crust
  • 1 lb. salmon
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup 1/4” chopped discs of leeks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out bottom crust, prick several times with a fork, cover with tinfoil and fill with pie weights. Partially blindbake the crust for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 375°F, remove weights, and continue to bake for another 7 minutes. Take out and set aside to cool.

Wrap salmon in aluminum foil, seasoned with garlic, salt, and butter. Place in 400°F oven on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and shred.

While the salmon bakes, bring chicken broth to a low boil. peel potatoes and cut into 1/4” cubes and place into chicken broth. Add onions, parsley, thyme, and leeks. Cook until potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Stir in cream. Spoon out several tablespoons of liquid into a separate bowl and whisk in the flour. Salt & pepper to taste.

Spread shredded salmon into the bottom of the pie crust. Pour potato & leek mix over the top of the fish. Cover with top crust, brush with a little bit of egg beaten together with milk. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes or until the top crust is nicely browned.

Eggnog Cheesecake Covered In Delicious Hot Buttered Rum

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It’s the last day of 2011 and I have never been looking forward to a new year more than I am this one. I’m in Houston, having been reunited with an old friend, and we’re both looking to ring in 2012 with a bang. He doesn’t like cheesecake which means he’s one of the best kind of friends to have since you don’t have to feel guilty for not sharing. *wink*

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Of course I couldn’t let him go without pie, so my first night here, I made these two beauties.

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Like old friends, the recipe I am sharing with you today are lots of old familiar holiday flavors all rolled into one pie…or cheesecake…is cheesecake considered pie? Well for today I am considering it a cream cheese pie!

Happy New Year everyone, and may it be the start of very good things. And really, if you spend it eating cheesecake flavored with eggnog and drenched in butter and rum…you’re ahead of the game.

Eggnog Cheesecake

adapted from Cast Sugar’s recipe

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup beaten into submission gingersnaps
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter

Filling

  • 2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. eggnog
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus a pinch to sprinkle on top

Michel’s Hot Buttered Rum Sauce

  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl combine ground gingersnaps and butter. Press into the bottom of your pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Blend with an electric mixer the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, flour and eggnog until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum, and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Sprinkle nutmeg on top for a decorative touch.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. 

Reduce heat to 250°F and bake for 45 minutes, or until center is barely firm to the touch. Let cool completely and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Probably best to make this the night before.

To make the hot buttered rum sauce, in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir brown sugar and heavy cream until sugar is melted. Pour in rum, and simmer, stirring until the sauce is smooth, thickened, and reduced. Stir in butter until melted. Let cool for 15 minutes before pouring over slices of cheesecake.

Mexican Chocolate Pie

        If you have come here looking for a “Mexican Chocolate Pie” that contains chilis or jalapeños or something crazy like that, you’ll have to go on to the next blog. That’s because Mexican chocolate does NOT contain those spices. Somewhere in food marketing world, people started adding chili powder to things and declaring it “Mexican!”. Chili in ice cream? Mexican! Chili in casseroles? Mexican! Chili in cereal? Mexican! Chili in my eyeballs? Mexican!

Mexican chocolate is sweeter than American chocolate and contains flavors of cinnamon and almond in it. It also does not come in ready to eat candy bar form, but rather hard grainy discs like this: 

            

I grew up drinking Ibarra Chocolate, but sadly I could not find any when it came time to make this recipe, so I settled for Nestlé’s Abuelita Mexican Chocolate. Still yummy, but if you can find Ibarra, good on you! David Lebovitz has a great article about his experience with Mexican chocolate on his blog as well, which is worth reading for newbies.

This is a nostalgic pie, with flavors that remind me of snowy days and my Daddy whipping up some Mexican hot cocoa as a special treat. I think I’ll make another at Christmas time, to share with my family that I hold so dear. From my half Mexican house to yours, with pie love.

Mexican Chocolate Pie 

Ingredients

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How To Make Basic Flaky Crust

I finally am putting up the pie crust recipe I use for almost all of my pies. It’s the basic flaky crust from Ken Haedrich’s PIE book. It’s such a great base for so many crusts, and I have yet to find fault with it. 

You can use half butter, half shortening (which is what I typically use) or you can use all butter (2 sticks/2 cups/226g). You can add any spices and herbs to the flour mixture to change the taste. Add more salt to make it savory, more sugar to make it sweet. Take out a 1/4 cup (1oz) flour and add in a 1/2 cup (4oz) cheese and you get a cheesy crust. There is really so much you can do with this recipe!

I use a pastry blender to make all of my crusts. It’s a little to get the visceral feel for making crust and a lot because this is a low budget show and I currently do not own a food processor or stand mixer or blender.

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Basic Flaky Crust by Ken Haedrich

This recipe makes a double crust.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375g/13oz) flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1 cup/113g) of butter, straight out of the fridge
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening (4 Tablespoons/57g), also straight out of the fridge
  • 3/4 cup (168ml) ice water

Directions

Spoon flour into your measuring cup and level the top when measuring into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt. Mix together.

Cut butter into 1/4” slices and dump into bowl with the flour. I use two knives to do this so the heat from my fingers doesn’t melt the butter. Do the same with the shortening. Use a pastry blender to cut the fat into the flour until it becomes small pea sized crumbles.

Pour in 1/4 cup (56ml) of the ice water and mix with a fork. Add in the next 1/4 cup (56ml) slowly, still mixing with a fork; pulling from the bottom up. Add the last 1/4 cup (56ml) of ice water a Tablespoon at a time. As the crust starts to come together, switch to a spoon and start pressing the dough together. Give it a quick pat together, cut in two, and pat into two rounds. Wrap with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for an hour before rolling out.