Pitman Photography

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last Minute Pie

Unfortunately this last minute pie is a little more difficult then the previous two. Maybe I shouldn't say difficult. It's not hard to make at all, but it does take lots of patience. I will say though, that this pie is worth all the work.

Apple-Cranberry Pie
Better Homes and Gardens, November 2010
2 Pie Crusts - I used Pillsbury, of course
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 C cranberries
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
1 recipe pastry cream (below)
1 egg, beaten
1 TBSP, whipping cream

Pastry Cream
1 C milk
1/4 C sugar
2 egg yolks
3 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan combine milk and sugar. Cook over medium heat until bubbly on edges (this is where the patience comes in). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until combined. Gradually beat in 1/3 C hot milk mixture; quickly beat in remaining milk mixture. Return to saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. (This happens quicker then you think!) Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Transfer to bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool.

Make Ahead tip: Prepare pastry cream in advance. It can be stored in the refigerator for 3 days.

Preheat oven to 375. Transfer pastry to a 9" pie dish.

In a large bowl combine apples, cranberries, and lemon juice.

In a small bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.

Spread bottom of crust with pastry cream. Toss apple mixture with dry ingredients; pile over pastry cream in pie pan.

Fold top pastry under bottom pastry and crimp edges. Cut small slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Combine egg and cream and brush on pastry.

Place on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any overflow from the pie while baking.
Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes (mine was right on). I used my pie cover for the first 45 minutes of baking and removed it for the rest. Cool on wire rack.

I was a little hesitant to add the cranberries. I like cranberries okay but they aren't my favorite. But, I wanted to follow this recipe exact (and I am forcing myself to try new things when I can) and I am glad I did! The cranberries add a perfect touch and give it just enough zest to make it a different kind of apple pie.

This pie would be great for Christmas too. I hope you try it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Easy Pie #2

I never would have thought to make a lemon pie for Thanksgiving, but that's kind of why I chose this recipe. It's different and fun and so delicious! This lemon pie was super easy to make and not at all time consuming.

Lemon Velvet Cream Pie
recipe from Better Home and Gardens, November 2010 issue

1 rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 TBSP cold water
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C lemon juice

Bake crust according to package on directions. When I don't make my own crust, I always use Pillsbury Pie Crust. It is so light and flakey and most of the time it's hard to tell between Pillsbury and homemade!

I "blind bake" my crusts when I am making a custard-y type pie. To blind bake, line the bottom of the pie crust with foil or a slightly smaller pie tin and fill with dried beans, pie weights, or in my case, a glass bowl that is oven safe.

Once crust is lightly browned, cool completely on wire rack.

In a small bowl, soften gelatin in water 5 minutes. Heat in microwave for 14 seconds.

In a large bowl combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Beat in gelatin, whipping cream and salt on low speed. Add lemon juice and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes (mine took the full 25) or until center of pie looks set when gently shaken; cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerater.

Top with whipped cream and serve!

I rarely buy store bought whipped cream. It is SO much better to make your own and it doesn't take much time at all.

Homemade Whipped Cream
1 C heavy cream
1 TBSP confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form again.

Now, if you are like me and hate to waste food, you will feel sad throwing away 6 egg whites. I used to use them right away in a different recipe, but then was so happy to learn that you can freeze them! How cool is that? I have an ice cube tray devoted strictly to egg whites. Then when you need them for macarons, souffles, or meringue (for example), you won't be wasting any yolks!

Suprise your family with a lemon pie this Thanksgiving. I promise, they will be happy!

Forest Themed Baby Shower

Most of the fun handiwork you see is done by none other then our Claire! :) She worked so hard and did an amazing job. It was fun to help her set up everything and play around with all the owl decorations.

Cute scrapbook paper makes cute baby signs -

Gift table -

Cake pops for favors, an owl lamp for fun, and a "words of wisdom" book for mommy and daddy -

The food was yummy and the signs were cute -

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cake of the Month

Claire and I had the privilege to help throw our good friend a baby shower last night. A forest theme was decided and the planning began.

Owl and mushroom cake pops were made for the favors -

Caramel-vanilla & chocolate buttercream cupcakes were made for the dessert -

Stay tuned this weekend for the crafty shower details!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Easy Pie #1 - Pumpkin

This pie is called Easy Pumpkin Pie with Press-In Shortbread Crust. I found the recipe in the 2009 fall issue of Martha Stewart Living. It really was easy, and didn't take much time at all to prep. It did however, take a lot of oven time. Which was okay with me since it gave me plenty of time to keep reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Have any of you read this? I am about three-quarters finished and I cannot put it down! I stayed up until 12:30a reading it last night.

Recipe is as follows:

Press-In Shortbread
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 C flour
1 tsp coarse salt

Stir together butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in yolk. Add flour and salt, and stir until mixture is dry and crumbly. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake, roating half-way through, just until crust turns golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Pumpkin Pie filling
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 C heavy cream
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ground ginger*
1/4 tsp ground allspice*
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

*I used about a tbsp of pumpkin pie spice instead.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk all ingredients but eggs in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a separate bowl and add to pumpkin mixture.

Pour filling into prepared piecrust. Bake for 65-70 minutes, rotating halfway through, until filling is just set but still a bit wobbly and slightly puffed.
Cool on wire rack completely. It's the perfect pie to make the night before as it takes at least 6 hours to chill.

This pie is DELICIOUS. So good. I think this is my new go-to-pumpkin-pie recipe. The shortbread crust is nice and soft, not crispy like I thought it would be. I think it will be fun to try this with a graham cracker or cream cheese pie crust.

One pie down, three to go!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Perfect Pies

In honor of it being the month of harvest, I have decided to bake four pies - two simple and two that take a bit more work, all before the long-awaited arrival of Thanksgiving. I know it's cliche, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holiday's. It's such a great feeling to gather with close family and friends and celebrate all the many things we have to be thankful.

Watch for the pie posts this week and next!