It’s peach season, so why not fix a tribute to the world’s oldest cultivated fruit. This glorious fruit (which has been cultivated in China since circa 2000 B.C.) is a symbol of immortality in Chinese culture and gifting one is said to bring joy and protection from evil1. Do you need any more motivation than that to start baking? Okay, also, no one would hate it if you brought this pie to a 4th of July cookout. In fact, you might be doing them a favor, according to folklore.
Also, please note, I only have a handful of cookie cutters, two of them happen to be bat shaped. This will likely not be the last bat covered pie I post. I realize this is unusual and want to clarify: I like the look of bat drawings/outlines but actively avoid the actual, live creatures…though they are frugivores and would likely bake this pie, if they weren’t so busy eavesdropping.
Aiming for a not-so-gooey-sweet version of pecan pie? Here’s your answer! The carrots bake into a rich base, much like pumpkin pie, only with a little more texture, and provide the perfect compliment (especially after chilled) to the candied pecan topping. Sorry, traditional pecan pie, but you’ve finally got some competition and this rookie pie is truly a delicious alternative.
1. Boil carrots and vanilla extract in two cups of water until the carrots become tender. Drain and let them cool for at least five minutes.
2. Place carrots and half and half in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Separately, in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, ground ginger, and carrot puree to the mixer. Blend until smooth.
4. Add 2 Tbs brown sugar and 3 Tbs butter to a saucepan. Stir and heat until bubbles begin to form and the syrup begins to thicken.
Add pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle or arrange pecans on the top of the filling.
5. Foil edges of the crust for the first fifteen minutes of baking to prevent burning. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the carrot puree has set and no longer appears gooey.
Quick, easy and fool proof pie crust. It’ll be deliciously flaky and sturdy enough for your heaviest fillings. Savory pies generally don’t need a second crust, so note that this recipe makes one 9″ pie crust.
1.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
2 Tbs butter, chilled and cubed
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1. Sift flour and salt together in large bowl. Add shortening and butter.
2. “Cut” the fat into the dry ingredients with a small spatula or knife. Don’t use your hands or any warm utensil that might melt the shortening.
Once you have broken up and evenly distributed the fat, it should look like this:
3. Add the cold water and vinegar to the bowl and knead with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Ez as that! If you’re using it right away, turn out onto a well floured surface to roll out.
5. Trim the excess from the lip of the pan with a sharp knife and patch any gaps with the extra dough. Make sure to work quickly here so as not to melt the shortening.
Now, if you’d like, you can learn How to Crimp and Flute a Pie Crust to make your crust looks like this:
1. Trim excess from edges and patch any gaps with extra dough.
2. Next, use your index finger to push a small section of dough away from the pan while pinching the dough around your index finger with the fingers of your other hand. I had to take these pictures in sequence since I need a free hand to hold the camera, so imagine these two pictures happening simultaneously. Continue with this pinching method around the entire pan.
Alright folks, let’s lattice some pastry! If your dough becomes unworkable (breaks, becomes oily, sticky) during this process, simply refrigerate it for at least fifteen minutes. Chilled dough is best/easiest to work with.
1. Roll out half of the pie dough to make the bottom half of pie crust. Trim excess and use your fingers to crimp edges of crust around the edge of the pan.
2. Next roll out the rest of the dough to desired thickness and cut into strips. The thickness and number of each strip that you cut really depends on what you’re going for with your pie. Thicker strips will allow less filling to show through the top in your final product and using more strips will tighten the lattice, producing the same effect. I cut ten, half-inch strips.
3. Lay about five strips of dough (or however many you think looks best) vertically pie.
4. Carefully pull alternating strips to the top of the pie and let them hang out there. Lay down first strip of horizontal dough at the top corner of your pie. Unfold every other vertical strip back to its original position. Next, repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure to ALTERNATE along your way. And voila!
5. To finish the edges, you could simply trim the edges of the strips to fit inside the pie. For this strawberry rhubarb pie I wanted a heartier lattice so I anchored it to the base crust with a few of the extra strips placed around the circumference, which I pressed together and to the sides of the pan with a heavy finger.
Also, remember to foil those delicate edges during the first twenty minutes of baking! No sense in making charcoal of the beautiful lattice crust you’ve created.
I’ll still never forget the sweet yet assertive tang of rhubarb pie I first tasted at Grace’s grandmother’s house in Vincennes, Indiana. Later that night, I snuck to the kitchen while the family was enraptured by a street front Fourth of July parade and shoveled spoonfuls of pie into my mouth, straight out of the glass pan. It felt like a secret, this awesome taste I’d never experienced.
And so, I had an occasion to remember the pie from Vincennes when I saw fresh rhubarb in the produce department of the grocery store. I decided to add strawberries in my version for additional sweetness in the filling.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling
2 cups fresh red rhubarb
2 cups strawberries
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs minute tapioca
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg white for an egg wash over the crust (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly wash all produce. De-stem strawberries and cut into thin slices. Cut rhubarb into small cubes and place all of the produce in a large bowl.
2. Add sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla to the produce. Stir to fully mix all ingredients.
3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.
4. Brush crust with optional egg wash. Wrap tin foil loosely over the edges of the crust and bake at 350 degrees in the bottom third of your oven. After fifteen minutes, remove the tin foil and allow pie to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the filling begins to bubble. Cool N’ Serve.
After testing and reworking several pie crust recipes, I finally decided upon this one. The vinegar really helps produce a flakier pie crust because the acid prevents long gluten strands from accumulating. This is the perfect sweet pie crust. Easy to roll out and form, deliciously flaky and aromatic.
Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust (yields two approximately 9″ pie crusts)
3 cups flour
1 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1. Sift flour, powdered sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add shortening and cubed butter. Use the biscuit method to combine the fats into the flour until pea sized lumps appear.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg with water and vinegar until consistent.
3. Pour liquids over flour mixture and stir until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough.
4. Chill the dough for fifteen minutes in the fridge before turning it out onto a well floured surface. Roll the dough into any shape and thinness you desire.
If you’re making a pie with an unbaked crust, chill the dough while you prepare the filling to prevent the butter from softening prematurely. Fill and bake in the bottom third of the oven with the edges covered in tin foil for the first fifteen minutes of baking. For double crust pies, cover the entire top with perforated tin foil (to let out some of the steam) for the first twenty minutes of baking.
If your recipe calls for a pre-baked pie crust (AKA blind baked pie crust, often recommended for moisture rich pies), form the dough into the proper shape and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until it becomes a light, golden color. Cool crust to room temperature before filling. Brush crust with egg wash before final baking to help prevent the crust from crisping too quickly.
With this from-scratch recipe, there’s no reason not to be making quiche on the regular. Only about an hour of your time and you’ve got the most versatile savory custard in the business. I’ve included a basic quiche filling recipe that, interestingly, calls for mayonnaise. And as for what you should add in to spice up your quiche, I would recommend looking up one that favors your tastes (epicurious is a good place to start) or just working with with any produce or breakfast meats that you’re looking to use up in your refrigerator.
Basic Quiche Filling
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I know its gross to some, but the oil in mayonnaise helps create a light, fluffy texture to the eggs)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, half and half, mayonnaise and flour. Salt and pepper according to taste.
2. Sautee any vegetables for the filling in a saucepan with oil and cook any meat that you wish to add fully before filling the bottom of the quiche crust. I used vegetarian sausage, green and red bell pepper and onion.
And then I topped it with some cubed swiss cheese.
3. Pour filling into quiche crust. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour or until the center is no longer liquid. Let quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.