Tag Archives: Dessert

Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust

Apple pie with cheddar cheese crustIt must be that time of year again. The holidays are around the corner and we’re getting close to another turn around the sun. Pie time.

Recently, I was at a small gathering of friends in downtown Austin and the subject of pie came up. Someone asked if I’d ever baked an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust. I’d never heard of it. It sounds like a weird pairing but I was assured it’s quite good. So, because I hadn’t made a pie in a while, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d give it a whirl and share it here.

Most of this recipe is from Nancy Fuller, host of the Food Network show Farmhouse Rules. I made some minor edits based on item availability and some measuring goof-ups.

The crust:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt (use 1/4 tsp instead, I goofed)
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (4 ounces) grated extra-sharp yellow Cheddar (the color of the cheddar doesn’t actually matter)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor and give it a quick pulse to blend the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like clumped sand. Add the cheese and pulse again until combined and cheese is worked into the mixture and cut into small chunks. Turn the mixture out into a bowl, drizzle in 6 tablespoons cold water, and mix in with a rubber spatula until the flour is moistened. Add another tablespoon of water, only if needed. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and flatten to a disc. Rest the dough to relax the gluten, 30 minutes

The filling:

2 pounds (about 4 good-sized) Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 pounds Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, sliced into pats
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tbsp brown (or turbinado) sugar, for sprinkling

Combine the Granny Smith apples, Gala apples, sugar, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Adjust the baking racks to the center of the oven

Roll out 1 disc of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Add the apples in an even layer. Mine looked like a mound of sliced healthy goodness, with sugar. Lightly brush the edges of the crust with egg wash. Next, roll out the second dough round, slightly larger than the first. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie dough, pressing the edges to seal the crust. Trim the crust. Crimp the edges. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Make 4-5 air slits in the center of the pie and place the pats of butter in the slits. Place the pie on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours before tearing into it with your excited family or friends. Or even yourself.

The pie tastes very good. Granny apples are sour and Gala are a mix of sweet and sour so you got a bit of both flavors, along with the sugar and spice. The crust had a hint of cheddar flavor that went well with everything else. Tammi and the kids gave it a thumbs up and even added, “nice work Nettie” to the critique. Pretty rare. Then again, I hadn’t made a pie in a while. I wonder what I’ll make for Thanksgiving…

The apple pie cavern after 3 hours.

The apple pie cavern, after 3 hours

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Filed under Apple Pies, Homemade Pie Crust Pies

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Just in time for the holidays, I present to you the Pecan Pumpkin Pie. This is a pie for those who want to bake something for their holiday dinner and can’t decide which one to concoct. And this is also a pie for those of you that can’t decide which slice you want for dessert. This tasty pie comes courtesy of The Gourmet Cookbook, edited for the maximum delicious by Ruth Reichl.

The crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick (8 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch squares

1/4 tsp salt

3-4 tbsp ice water

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips, or pastry blender (or do what I did and pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles a course meal with pea-size lumps of butter. Evenly add 3 tablespoons of ice water in mix and mix (or pulse) until combined. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together add ice water a half tablespoon at a time, mixing or pulsing until incorporated. Don’t overwork the dough or pastry can become tough, which is great for street fighting but not pie making.

Turn dough onto work surface and split into 4 portions. With the palm of your hand, smear the portions in a forward motion to help distribute the butter. Gather the dough together into a ball. Place dough on plastic wrap. Press it into 5 inch disk. Wrap and place in refrigerator until firm, at least an hour. The dough can be kept for up to 1 day, just so you know…

While you’re waiting for the dough to firm up, make your fillings.

The pumpkin filling:

3/4 cup canned, solid pack pumpkin

2 tbsp packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp sour cream

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

The pecan layer:

3/4 cup light brown syrup

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups (5.5 oz.) pecans, chopped if you need to do such a silly thing

In a large bowl, mix corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla , zest, and lemon juice until well combined. Stir in pecans. Set aside.

Yay! now you just have to assemble everything…

Place oven rack in center position. Pre-heat your oven to 375F. It’ll take about 8 minutes to heat up. that will provide you the time to get your pie shell ready.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

 

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling-pin to make a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate and trim excess to leave a 1/2 inch overhang. fold it under and crimp the edge as desired. Lightly poke the crust in several places along bottom with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes if desired  (I didn’t put it in the fridge). Line with foil and place pie weights, rice or dried beans onto foil. Place on center rack and bake for 20 minutes. carefully remove foil and weights and bake pie shell until lightly golden, 6-10 minutes more. Remove from oven (leave oven on) and allow shell to cool.

Once shell is cool, evenly spread pumpkin filling over bottom of shell.

Carefully spoon pecan filling over pumpkin layer.

Bake the pie until crust is golden and filling is puffed, about 35 minutes (center should still be slightly jiggly). Cool completely on a rack.

The flavor of this pie really pops. It gives both the smooth spiciness of the pumpkin layer and the sweet caramelized pecan layer.  It’s like a festive holiday in your mouth! The interesting thing about the flavor is that it’s so sweet, even with less-than-usual sugar fixing. I really enjoyed baking this because it was pretty easy. And the wait is worth the effort. My wife liked it too and suggested this be a tester for Thanksgiving. This pie will be one of the few (I’m not sure how many I’ll make, maybe 3) I end up making for the holiday. Have a great Thanksgiving and if I don’t add to the blog during this most wonderful time of the year, have a great holiday:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Homemade Pie Crust Pies, Pecan Pies, Pumpkin Pies, Unique Pies

A Lazy Man’s Cherry Pie

It’s the first day of spring:) The weather is getting warmer in Austin (it was 76F today) and it’s almost time to go out and clear the dead crap from the yard. That’s something for the weekend if it doesn’t rain, but for today there was a need for pie. Problem is I’m feeling lazy and didn’t want to create something from scratch. So I grabbed a few things from the fridge and the cupboard and made a lazy man’s cherry pie. You can never go wrong with cherry pie, especially on the first lazy day of spring.

The crust:

2 pre-made, 9 inch, deep dish pie shells

1 tbsp. milk

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Pull pie shells from freezer and let thaw for 15 minutes. Separate one from the tin and roll it flat on a floured cutting board. You know, so it doesn’t stick. Set the milk aside to bind the top shell to the bottom shell when it’s time to bake.

The filling:

1 1/4 lbs. pitted, red tart cherries OR 2-14.5 oz. cans of Lucky Leaf cherries (I was lazy so guess which way I went)

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch (if you don’t have corn starch, you can use 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour)

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 cup of water (If you use the canned cherries, set aside one cup from the cans)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and mix until smooth. Stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and it bubbles. Continue to stir for an additional minute. Remove from heat and add cherries and butter.  Combine and pour into your pie crust. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with milk and place your cutting-board pie crust on top. Flute the crust and cut a slit in middle to vent.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake an additional 25-35 minutes or until the top crust is a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of hours. Dig in.

My vent didn’t work too well as you can see. But the pie was pretty tasty and not too sweet. I would recommend adding some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to add to it.

If you’re anything like me, I hope that spring is a way better time in 2014 than winter. I think it’s time to look for a few other recipes to try out.

Cherry pie

We have center vent fail.

..

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The worlds easiest cheesecake pie recipe…in the world

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a Dollar General Store. Dollar General has all kinds of discounted stuff; housewares, furniture and (surprisingly good) food. While I was perusing snacks for the kid’s school lunches I found brand-name, pre-made graham cracker pie crusts. As I stared and thought about what I could do with them, an elderly woman approached me and said, “you could use those to make the worlds easiest cheesecake pie.” An easy cheesecake pie? Do tell!

The crust!:

1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

The filling!:

1 and a half blocks of cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

In a pinch on Thanksgiving Day? You're welcome!

Cheesecake pie, it’s what’s for breakfast.

Your prep time will be about 5 minutes and bake time is 30 minutes…

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and don’t overblend. Pour cream cheese mixture into your pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. The filling will be puffy and a bit jiggly but it will fall and settle as it cools. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Serve plain or you can add any fruit, or even chocolate, topping.

I had a slice for breakfast and all I can say is, should you decide to make this, all will be right in your world:) And thank you, wise woman in Dollar General!

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Filed under Cheesecake, Graham Cracker Crust Pies

Mixed Berry Pie with Oatmeal Lattice Crust

2nd place on the least presentable list.

2nd place on the least presentable list.

 

The 4th of July has come and gone. We are half way through the year and it’s fairly hot in the state of Texas. Not 2011 hot mind you, but still very hot. It’s strange days when you consider the upper 90’s not-so-hot.

We went to friends for the 4th and had dinner and made our own fireworks show in their front yard. Dinner consisted of hamburgers, potato salad, beer or margaritas, and a bit of pie. Not necessarily in that order. This recipe was pulled from Epicurious circa 1997.  You don’t need a national holiday to make or eat this one. But it is certainly worthy of baking for such a day.

The crust!

4 1/2 tbsp. ice water

1 large egg yolk

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tbsp. grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into piece

Grease your pie plate. Whisk 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water and yolk in small bowl to blend. Blend flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon peel and salt in processor. Add butter and process until coarse meal forms. Add yolk mixture and process using on/off turns until moist clumps form. Gather dough together and divide into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other. Flatten into disks; wrap each in plastic and chill 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out larger dough disk on floured surface (I use a floured baking cloth to make it easier to transfer to plate) to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under (if you have any). Crimp edges.

Line your crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until crust is set, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Roll out remaining dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

The filling!:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. grated orange peel

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 3/4 cups fresh raspberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3/4 cup fresh blackberries

1/4 cup blueberry preserves

1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Whipped cream (optional)

Mix 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, orange peel and nutmeg in large bowl. Add all berries and preserves and toss to blend. Pour filling into crust. Place dough strips atop pie, forming lattice; trim excess. Gently press strip ends to crust. Brush lattice with egg glaze. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles thickly in center, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour. Cool on rack. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream.

I scorched the crust as you can see but the sugar, glaze and berry mix did a nice job of taking that away . It was a bit messy to serve up but tasted very good and was a good way to end the evening. Onward to Labor Day…

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Filed under Blackberry Pies, Bluberry Pies, Fruit Pies, Homemade Pie Crust Pies, Lots O' Butter Pies