“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

02 December 2011

pies pies pies!

I think my husband loves Thanksgiving most for the pies.  While he like the turkey and fixin's, he is above all things a pie man.  He is widely known for gladly accepting pie as “payment” for fixing people’s computers, being the friendly neighborhood fix-it man or helping out around the house.  I have to admit, I don’t much like pie, mostly because I don’t like the crust.  Don’t like making it, don’t like eating it.  (Although I do have fond memories of my mother making “churros” with left-over pie crust.)  When I was a kid I would just eat the middle out and leave the crust altogether.  I catch myself doing that nowadays too.  But I did find something amazing.  Marie Calendar’s frozen pie crusts.  They are light, flakey and quite nice tasting.  I actually like the frozen ones better that the ones on her pies you buy from the restaurant.  But be warned, they have generic/store brands of these and THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.  Stick with Marie’s.

That being said, here are the pies I made for double-take-giving. 

Grandma Porter’s Peach Pie
makes 1
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1½ cups water
1 small package lemon jello
2 cups fresh peaches, sliced
1 prepared pie crust

Mix cornstarch and sugar in cool pan.  Stir in water slowly.  Cook until mixture clears.  Dissolve jello into sugar mixture.  Allow to cool.  Fold in peaches.  Pour filling into pie crust.
The story goes that when my husband’s grandfather married his (my husband’s) grandmother she couldn’t cook.  Anything.  Had a hard time even boiling water.  But she went to work at a tiny little “home-cooked” restaurant called the Spring Chicken Inn (which is now quite famous in the area) in a tiny Utah town and became one of the best cooks ever.

This is not only my husband’s favorite pie, but his father’s as well.  And it’s one of mine because it’s so very, very easy to make.  I always use the generic brand of lemon jello because I think it tastes better in the pie, and I never wait for the filling to cool before dumping it into the shell.  Works just fine for me, and I’ve never heard my husband or his father complain. 

Chocolate Cream Pie
5 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup half and half
¾-1 cup sugar (depending on chocolate used)
3 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chocolate syrup OR ½ cup melted chocolate chips

Mix cornstarch, sugar and salt in a 3 quart saucepan.  Add milk and cream, cook over medium heat until smooth and thick, stirring constantly.  Pour a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; blend thoroughly, then pour back into saucepan.  Cook another 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and chocolate.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Chill 3-4 hours.  Top with whipped cream.

I got this recipe from my friend Alisha several years ago and I have to say it is THE best chocolate pie I have ever tasted, bar none.  In fact, my husband wasn’t too interested in a chocolate pie this year and I insisted on making it.  (Me, the non-pie lover.)  Oldest told me that he doesn’t like chocolate pie very well, and told him, oh yes he does, he just needed to taste this one.  I gave him a spoon and some of the filling and he went nuts.  He wants to know if I can make him a vanilla one.  Of course I can!  This recipe is actually a basic cream pie recipe that you can make into vanilla, banana and coconut cream as well.  (If any of you want the original recipe, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to e-mail it to you.)  I inevitably use the chocolate chips, and just dump them in and melt them before adding the vanilla and butter.  And I always put the whipped cream on top before I put it in the fridge because it helps keep the chocolate from drying out.  You can put cling wrap on top instead if you want.  Yum yum yum! 

I overheard my husband’s sister tell someone once that her favorite is Marie Calendar’s Razzleberry Pie, so for the last several years we have been getting her one on her birthday.  (They’re usually on sale that time of year.)  I guess she decided we like them too, because they’ve been showing up on our birthdays lately.  My husband wasn’t sure he was happy about that or not.  Sure, it was PIE, but it wasn’t one of his confessed favorites.  Recently he had decided that he does, in fact, like Razzleberry pie, and I happened upon this recipe online so I thought I’d give it a try.  I don’t know if it was because I was using Marie’s pie crust too or what, but I thought I could pass this off as one of hers (if I hadn’t left the crust too long and it hadn’t decided to fall apart in the oven).  Be aware that this makes enough filling for 7 pies, so if you’re not feeding a crowd you might want to freeze some. 

Razzleberry Pie Filling
makes 7 pie fillings
source: food.com
3 16-ounce bags mixed frozen berries
5 cups water
3½ cups sugar
1 cup pie-tone flour (combine with liquid below)
¾ cup water

Bring 1 bag of berries, sugar and water to a boil.  Add pie tone mixture and stir until thick.

Add 2 bags of berries.  Cool; refrigerate or freeze in gallon bag.

Frozen bake at 375° for 70 minutes.  Thawed bake at 375° for 60 minutes.

And now for the pièce de résistance ~ dum da da da!  My own version of Chef Tess’s Wise Woman Apple Pie.  This pie came about because I haven’t made a homemade apple pie for I can’t even remember how long.  I am quite stubborn on occasion (aren’t we all?  I certainly hope it’s not just me) and the last apple pie I made my husband didn’t like.  He was happy enough buying apple pies at Sam’s Club and I was quite happy nursing my hurt feelings and letting him.  (It didn’t hurt that I didn’t have to go to anywhere near as much work buying them at Sam’s either.)  But this year when I asked him what kind of pie he wanted for double-take-giving he put apple on the list.  I asked him where he wanted me to buy it, and he said I may as well just make one.  “It’s just apples and cinnamon, right?”  Uh, no.  No it isn’t.  Still, I had several apples my parents had given me from their tree that needed to be put to some use, so I enlisted Oldest’s help peeling, coring and slicing.  Once that task was done though, I started to panic a little.  He hadn’t liked the last apple pie I made, and I still only had that recipe.  So I made a mad dash to the computer and pulled up Chef Tess’s website.  She’s saved my hiney several times in our short acquaintance, so I was certain she could do so now.  Provided she had a recipe for apple pie.  She DOES!  But it’s for “food storage” apple pie, using dried apples, powdered butter... O-kay.  I can work with this.  Here’s what I came up with. 

M’s a Wise Woman too Apple Pie
½ cup sugar or ¼ cup honey (splenda is okay)

½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice blend 
(or cinnamon if you’re desperate or an idiot ~ seriously, try the Wise Woman spice blend, it is a-MAZE-ing!)
3 tablespoons cornstarch or Ultra Gel
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425°.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and put in a prepared pie crust (bottom).  Top with other half of the dough, rolled out to a 12 inch diameter.  Using a knife, cut off the extra edge so that there is about a half inch of dough hanging all around the outside edge of the pie plate.  Roll this “dough lip” under until almost flush with the edge.  Seal edged lightly pressing down with a fork or pinching with your fingers into a crimped fashion.  Cut several vents in the top (I tried a mock lattice decoration by cutting squares into the crust).  Bake at 425° 10 minutes.  Cover edges with foil or pie guard and lower oven to 350° and bake 30-40 minutes.

I did one with my mock lattice design, and one crumble crust, because I had just enough apples to make two fillings.  The crumble crust pie was half eaten before I could take a picture of it.  Oh.  My.  Guess what?  I now have the best apple pie recipe of anyone I know.  Thanks for coming to my rescue again Stephanie!  You are truly my rock star in shining armor!

No comments:

Post a Comment