Pie Talk

When I was a little girl my grandma would make a pie just about every week for Sunday dinners that I loved being invited to.  

Grandma’s pies never looked perfect but they were always delicious, and today I admire her for making them so faithfully.

My pies, like my grandma’s, never look perfect either.  And like hers, they are always very tasty but I surely don’t make them weekly.  I guess it would be safe to say that I’m lucky if I make one every few months, or so.

I love going into diners where their dessert menu boards are typically filled with a never-ending list of  their homemade pies – lemon, cherry, coconut cream, chocolate cream, banana cream, custard, red raspberry, black raspberry, peach, and of course apple.  It’s proof that pies are not a dying breed.  Perhaps today, people are more inclined to order a slice of their favorite pie out rather than make one at home.  What do you think?

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Since today is Sunday, and I haven’t baked all week, I thought I might as well make some pie and make my grandma proud.

This pie crust recipe came from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 c. shortening

5-6 tbsp. cold water

Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  With a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of cold water at a time  into the mixture; mix lightly.  With hands, shape pastry into a ball.  Divide dough in half.  On lightly floured surface roll each dough into a circle that is about 2 inches larger than the pie plate, and about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Place pastry into pie plate and pinch edges.

This custard pie filling recipe was adapted from the same cookbook.

2 c. skim milk

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Rub softened butter on unbaked pie crust and put in refrigerator until filling is ready.

In a medium bowl, add all ingredients.  Whip ingredients with wire whisk until mixed.  Pour custard mix into pie shell and carefully transfer to oven.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted about 1 inch from the edge.  Cool and refrigerate. 

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Rather it’s a deep dish, top crust, graham cracker crust, or crumb topping I’m all for pie!

Do you make your own pie, or do you order it out?

Shared this at Weekend Potluck – check out all the other great recipes there!

Get out your sifters for these shortbreads

I’ve been in search of a shortbread cookie recipe that I can actually say reminds me of  Panera Bread’s. Will this be the one?

I recently made a recipe for shortbread cookies that one of my blog visitors recommended.  This shortbread cookie recipe came from Kari’s Cooking.

I did modify Kari’s recipe slightly by adding 1/2 teaspoon more of vanilla extract than her recipe called for, along with a dash of salt.  And since I didn’t have cake flour I used (sifted) all-purpose flour.  I also sifted the confectionery sugar the recipe called for.  Kari’s recipe is very close to a recipe I also found in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.  Good Housekeeping’s recipe calls for 1/4 cup less sugar, and the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

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Since this recipe was so simple to make I mixed my batch by hand.  I originally wanted to roll the dough out and use cookie cutters but  once everything was mixed I realized that wasn’t going to happen;  the dough was quite sticky.  So instead, I spread the dough out into an ungreased cookie sheet.  (I didn’t use the whole pan since I wanted a thicker cookie.)  I started at one end of the pan and spread the dough out to a point that suited me.  I used a piece of plastic wrap to smooth the top of the dough – no sticky fingers that way. Lastly, I generously pricked the top of the dough full of wholes with a  fork prior to baking. 

The dough rose perfectly while baking and I used my pizza cutter to cut the bars immediately after taking them out of the oven. To finish them off I drizzled a thin buttercream icing on top.

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These cookies are very good, the texture is nice, they are buttery rich as expected, and they turned out beautiful.  There is no doubt they go down easy and I certainly would encourage anyone who likes shortbread cookies to make a batch, or two.

Maybe the cake flour is the secret?  Or maybe my taste buds are playing tricks on me but I didn’t taste Panera shortbreads in this recipe.  That’s okay though.  These cookies are still very good and I will make them again.

To see how this quest started, and if you like sugar cookies, see my post Have a heart – cookie that is… 

I’d love to hear from anyone who tries this recipe.  Come on, chime in!

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