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Posts Tagged ‘Betty Crocker’

I know it’s been a while I since I posted to this blog, but something about summer with a 3-year-old means you just don’t make many pies.  But now that it’s fall and the rains have come back to Seattle, I’m spending more time indoors, and that means more time making pie.

The apples have seemed especially appealing this year, so this afternoon I made an apple pie.  I used the classic recipe from Betty Crocker, and some granny smiths.  In the past, I’ve added a bit of lime juice, and omitted the butter, but this time I followed the recipe exactly as it is written.  I used my deep-dish pie pan and a pie shield, and it turned out lovely.

Then I made an eggnog pie, using the recipe I perfected last year.  I know it’s a bit early for eggnog, but I’ve been craving it ever since the weather turned cold.  Something about rain down here and snow in the mountains just screams EGGNOG.  It also turned out lovely.

For both pies, I used the standard pie crust recipe.  Lately I’ve been using the stick form of butter-flavored Crisco instead of from the big can, and I’ve found that the trick to using the stick stuff is to use more.  Instead of 1/3 of a cup per crust, I use 1/2 a cup.  So, for a 2-crust batch, that’s one stick (the sticks are one cup each), which makes for easy measuring.

Stay tuned–I roasted some pumpkins to make my own puree this year…

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I’ve officially had my first pie crust flop, and of course, it happened on Thanksgiving. I made my Thanksgiving pies over at my mother’s house, where we were having dinner. She had all the crust ingredients I needed: flour, butter-flavored Crisco, salt, water. I mixed them together like I always do, and then attempted to roll out my crusts, but they completely fell apart. It was a total disaster. After two failed attempts at rolling it out, I ended up just mushing the crust for the pumpkin pie into the pan, like I do for a pie in a jar. Only, because it had been rolled out twice already, when it cooked up, it was beyond tough and into the hard-as-a-rock category.

With the apple pie’s crust, I knew from trying to roll out the one for the pumpkin pie that something was horribly wrong, so I added a bunch more shortening and a little more water, hoping that would make it hold together. It still didn’t, so I basically had chunks of crust scattered across the top of the apple pie, instead of a top crust. No, I did not take pictures. What? You got a problem with that? Then make your own ugly pies and start your own pie blog.

Of course, the only people at Thanksgiving were my family (my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, and my parents, and of course J and our son), and they all said how delicious the pies were. My family members are really nice people. Fortunately, I’d brought all my own fillings, so the fillings turned out great.

The next morning, I got back up on the horse again, because I needed to make that blackberry and cream pie for J’s extended family. His cousin Rachel lives nearby, and her parents and sister and niece were in town for the holiday. Rachel’s parents live on a farm, so pie is something they make and eat all the time. I knew I needed to at least not embarrass myself, and hopefully make a pie that they really enjoyed. So I mixed my flour and my salt and my butter-flavored Crisco, and added the water from my sink, and held my breath as I rolled it out…and it was fine. Perfectly normal crust, just like I always make. This was the point where breathed a sigh of relief.

In hindsight, here’s what I think went wrong. I think the flour at my mother’s house wasn’t fresh enough, and I think my dad shouldn’t have kept the Crisco in the fridge. Instead, I should have brought my own flour and Crisco.  I mean, I always say pie crust is easy, and it is, if you have the right ingredients.  If you don’t, though, it’s obviously a complete mess.

Anyway, finishing the story: the blackberry and cream pie turned out awesome, and everyone raved about how good it was. Rachel’s mom said she’d never seen a pie like it, and I said, “Betty Crocker 1950’s cookbook, page 314!” She’s going to look it up.  I also brought them some pies in jars–an assortment of the different flavors I’ve attempted so far, including one blackberry and cream one. J’s sister Mandy had told them about pie in a jar and they were fascinated by the concept and curious to try them out.

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I bet you’re wondering, what is the Pieist planning to make this year? Well, it’ll be two tried-and-true classics for me: pumpkin, and apple. I have a big bag of granny smiths in the fridge, and of course J has been hoarding canned pumpkin ever since he learned that there is a shortage. I’ll be taking my pie-making supplies over to my mother’s house and hoping to enlist some family members to help me peel and core the apples, which is my least favorite part of the job.

But what’s more exciting is what I’ll be making for the day after Thanksgiving, when we’re visiting J’s cousin and her family. It’ll be blackberry and cream, which is now J’s favorite and one that he regularly requests. Thank goodness he picked all those blackberries last summer and we have a big bag of frozen ones in the freezer. I use the recipe on Page 314. Something about the cream with the tart berries makes for a really good flavor combination.

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Since I don’t work on Mondays, that’s when I tend to make a lot of pie, as well as prepping meals for the rest of the week.  This week, I happened to have a couple of carrots and onions hanging around, and I’d just gotten my AmazonFresh order delivered with a big bag of potatoes and some ground turkey.  So I though to myself, “What can I make with this stuff?”  The answer was, of course, Shepherd’s Pie.

Now, I absolutely despise pot pies.  One time when I was a kid, my mom made some kind of pot pie and I refused to eat it, so she told me I was going to sit in front of it until I ate it.  So I sat in front of it, not eating it, until it was bedtime, and then happily skipped off to bed.  Seriously, I hate pot pie.  But the idea of shepherd’s pie, with all that mashed potato goodness on top, now THAT appeals to me.  I’d never made one before, but I found a Rachel Ray recipe online, and put it together.  Then I put it in the fridge until the day we were ready to eat it, then J popped it in the oven.  Honestly, the flavor was not so hot.  It needed a LOT more spice.  But the overall concept was not bad and the mashed potato part was actually tasty.  I may attempt this again at a later date with a different recipe.

Once that was done, it was time to make a real pie.  I decided to make two one-crust pies: a pecan one, and a French Apple one.  That morning when I dropped my son off at daycare, Char (our neighbor and a great daycare provider) gave me back the foil pie pan that had contained the apple pie I made for her last week.  I said, “Oh good, I’m going to make more pie today, so I’ll make you another one.”  She said she liked both apple and pecan, so I figured I’d give her whichever one was the least pretty, and take the pretty one to my office so I could impress my coworkers.

I mixed up the two-crust recipe, rolled out two crusts, and put them in two pans.  Then I sat down with Betty again to try to figure out the whole make-the-crust-pretty thing again, since I am clearly not an expert yet.  I noticed the zig-zag crusts featured on a lot of pies, and I thought to myself, “I could make that.”  And I did!  The trick seems to be to cut the edge of the pie crust with scissors, then make your design.  It kind of folded itself as I was pinching it into the zig-zag pattern, like I’d pinch it and the far edge would fold up and the inner part of the edge would fold in so it was two layers I was pinching together.  I doubt I’m explaining that very well, but there you have it.

French Apple pre-cooking

Pecan Pie pre-cooking

The French Apple turned out a little dark on the top, so J took that one over to Char’s when he picked up our son.  So, the pecan made it to the office.

IMG00045

Sorry about the photo, I ended up using my cell phone because the batteries in our camera were dead.

I sent out an e-mail to my coworkers that morning entitled “Pecan Pie: Breakfast of Champions,” and sure enough, the thing was gone by noon.  Guess it was tasty!  The one coworker who gave specific feedback beyond “That was yummy, thanks” said that he thought it was nice and buttery-tasting.  Butter flavor Crisco, I heart you.

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This weekend, I made my very first pie-in-a-jar. If you haven’t yet heard about pie-in-a-jar, well, you really aren’t up with the latest in pie fads, now are you? That’s OK, I wasn’t either until a friend of mine told me about them. Of course, once I heard about pie-in-a-jar, I immediately had to surf the net to find pictures and directions. Props to LlyodandLauren.com and NotMartha.org for the directions.

So, I started with 8-ounce wide-mouth mason jars.  I made a standard one-crust pie dough recipe from Page 310.  Turns out the 9-inch recipe makes about 3 pies-in-jars.  I used the Lloyd and Lauren technique of just smushing the dough around the inside of the jar (after spraying it liberally with butter-flavored Pam.  Because everything is butter-flavored in my world). I tried to make the crust as thin as possible, so I held each jar up to the window as I was adding the dough and made the crust thin enough that I could see light through it.

I then took some frozen raspberries from our freezer, nuked them a little bit to take the edge off them, and made the Fresh Berry Pie filling for an 8-inch pie from page 304.  This made more filling than I had crust for.  I used about a half-cup of filling in each jar, then topped them with a crust circle, cut with the jar lid.  Then I just basically tried to roll down the edges of the dough, and then textured them with a fork.  I am seriously not great with the pie-beauty techniques yet.  Then I baked a couple of them, one at 375 degrees for an hour, and one at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.  Both turned out perfectly cooked.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Hey Pieist, where’s the photos?”  Unfortunately, J and I ate them before a photo could be taken, so you’re going to have to learn to live with disappointment.  Once again, J found them to be heavy on the crust and light on the filling, the same opinion he had about the mini apple pies I made the other day.  They are definitely heavy on the crust compared to a regular pie.  The other thing I discovered is that the raspberry filling volcanoed when it cooked, spewing out the slit I’d made in the top, then oozing back in and setting up as it cooled.  Fascinating.

Having decided that these things are completely adorable before you cook them and will make excellent gifts, even if they’re a bit heavy on the crust, I moved onto making apple ones, figuring that apple was slightly less likely to explode compared with the raspberry.  I made a double-recipe of the two-crust pie recipe from Page 299, which made about 10 pies-in-jars.  I made a half-recipe of the traditional apple pie filling for an 8-inch pie from Page 302, using a granny smith apple, with one addition: I tossed the apples with the juice of half a lime, so they wouldn’t brown up as I was going through the process of making all these little pies-in-jars.

It was tasty, but again with the too much crust.  I think because these pies are so crust-heavy, a one-crust pie would be a better option, like maybe a pumpkin one.  Stay tuned.

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Pecan Pie

I made my first pecan pie a couple of days ago, using the recipe on Page 313.  I made a crust for a one-crust pie from the recipe on 310, but when I bought the corn syrup, they didn’t have any dark corn syrup available, so I used light instead.

I invited my friend Anne over to try it out and give me feedback.  She declared the recipe “a keeper.”  J said he thought it was delicious and that the taste was right on, but wondered if there was a way to make the filling a little more dense.  I have no idea how one would do that, because I am still very new at this pie thing…maybe a little flour?  I also thought this one turned out pretty tasty.  I didn’t do anything special to the crust, so it’s pretty boring-looking, but the flavor and texture were good.

UPDATE: My father-in-law and his wife stopped by today to drop off some books, and I gave him a slice of the pecan pie we had hanging around still.  He said it was just the right amount of sweet.  I am loving all the compliments I get from people about my pies–I hope they’re not just being nice, because as long as they keep saying they like the pies, I’m going to keep making them.

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You may remember from my pecan pie post that I invited my friend Anne over to taste it.  Her husband Mike came with her, and since Mike doesn’t do sugar, I decided to make him a mini apple pie with Splenda instead of sugar.  I started with the recipe on page 310 for a 9-inch one-crust pie crust, and rolled it out to the size of a 9-inch pie, but then cut rounds to fit my mini tart pans.  The recipe made enough crust for 3 mini pies.  This worked out pretty well, although I clearly need to work on my technique for making the crusts pretty, because with a mini pie, it really shows when you’re a little sloppy.  Still, I think they’re pretty adorable, even if they are a wee bit ugly.

For the filling, I halved the 8-inch-size recipe for apple pie on page 302, and substituted Splenda for the sugar.  I used a large granny smith apple–one apple was plenty to fill the 3 pies.

Mike declared it delicious, and said that he thought it was just the right amount of apple, that sometimes pie can have too much filling in it.  J felt the opposite–he thought it had too much crust and would have preferred more filling.  I personally am not a huge fan of Splenda’s flavor, but for a sugar-free option, I thought this one was pretty good and not too artificial-sugar-tasting.

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