Strawberry Yogurt Pie

That title is kind of loosie-goosie. Its more like cream cheese Cool Whip pie with a bit of strawberry.

It’s like the one I remember grandma making way back in the day, only last time I tried to remake it, I didn’t use any strawberries. I found an old recipe of hers that was just cream cheese pie, with Cool Whip and sour cream.

So I did some research and found recipes using strawberry jello. But I just ended up making my own version. Its’ easy enough and a great cool dessert for hot days in the desert.

Its kind of like what I put in the strawberry cream trifle of excellence.

Only instead of cream cheese pudding mix, I used a brick of cream cheese.

And no pound cake. Mores the pity.

Here ya go…

IMG_6044(1)
Yes, that is a store bought graham cracker crust. I was doing this the grandma way.

Continue reading “Strawberry Yogurt Pie”

Blueberry Hand Pies or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the crust”.

I am a Scorpio.

Not that it really means anything, but there is one Scorpio type characteristic that I do have and that is I can be brutally honest about myself. No illusions. Okay, some illusions. But at least I am aware they are illusions and I just like hanging on to them.

We can all use an illusion now and again to help get through the days.

But I digress.

I can bake.

I can make bread with my eyes closed. I can do cookies, beat hell out of scones, and sticky buns? Well, they dare not come out anything but gooey and soft..

But I am worthless when it comes to making pies. Or at least pie crust. I know this about myself and I can still sleep nights.

I just do crisps and crumbles.

All the while my baking buddies are snapping out pie crust like tying shoes, no worries and whats my problem anyway? Crust is soooo easy?

So I begged. There may have been groveling.

“Teach me-Teach me!”

So finally this summer, one of my friends found  some time to show me her pie crust perfection. She made me do some of the rolling out too. You know what? I found out why my pie crusts were crapola! Continue reading “Blueberry Hand Pies or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the crust”.”

Easy Fresh Coconut Pie

Can you think of coconut pie without thinking of Gilligans Island? With Mary Ann holding a pie in one hand, waving it under the skippers nose?

Well, I have to confess, coconut pies never looked very appealing to me and being the chicken I used to be, I have never really tried them before now. But while we were in Alabama, my Aunt, Uncle, Mom and I all went to visit James and Linda Blair’s home for dinner. We had a very nice time with good food and great conversation A perfect ending to our Alabama trip. She had made 2 beautiful fresh coconut pies for dessert and shared the recipe with me. I ate one slice and helped myself to seconds! It was creamy and wonderful. But FYI, you do use a bag of coconut. Do not run out and buy a fresh one.

IMG_3217 (800x598)IMG_3218 (800x598)

Now when I say easy, I mean easy! Basically mix in one big bowl and pour into the pie crusts. Boo-yah!

Fresh Coconut Pie

(makes 2)

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 7 oz. coconut
  • 2 unbaked pie shells

Like I said, must mix this all up in one big bowl, with a hand or standing mixer. Pour equally into the two pie shells and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. It should still have a little bit of a jiggle in the center.

Just so you don't think I ate right from the pie plate...
Just so you don’t think I ate right from the pie plate…

Thank you Linda of Alabama!

There is my Aunt Jo Ann, admiring the lovely flowers James had put together. He is a college math professor with a side of floral arranging. So I guess this means on his down time he likes to hang out at his daughters flower shop?
There is my Aunt Jo Ann, admiring the lovely flowers James had put together. He is a college math professor with a side of floral arranging. So I guess this means on his down time he likes to hang out at his daughters flower shop?
I thought this was different. The frame is from, I can't remember, a relative of some kind and the tea cup and saucer also. From a great aunt or grandmother, sorry I can't remember. But I liked the different way of displaying them together.
I thought this was different. The frame is from, I can’t remember, a relative of some kind and the tea cup and saucer also. From a great aunt or grandmother, sorry I can’t remember. But I liked the interesting and eye catching  way of displaying them together.

BTW, don’t these pumpkin scones from KA flour look beautiful, like scone flowers?

Upside Down Caramel Apple Pie

Let us get right to the point. You will be getting this recipe:

IMG_3130 (1024x765)

So now say “hallelujah!’ and sit down to hear more about the Mistletoe Bough. and my trip to Alabama. Just for a minute, then you can see how Jo Ann, the Innkeeper here and my aunt, makes this. Go to that link to see beautiful photos that are much better than mine of the Inn. Take a minute to see how gracious and hospitable it looks. Then tomorrow I will have a post with some of its history. After all, was built in 1895. History it’s got!

Okay, now that you are back from checking out the site, Let me first tell you that today we went flying through the countryside in my uncle and aunts big pick up truck to Sylacauga, AL  to tour an ice cream factory. es! an ice cream factory! Time to call on that inner child.) Blue Bell ice cream has been around these parts for about 80 years. It was an interesting little tour and after it we all had a big ol’ scoop of any flavor we wanted. I got ‘Moo-linium, which was amazing, made of vanilla with caramel chunks, chocolate swirls, almonds, pecans and walnuts. Save me! I shared some with my sheriff uncle (It never hurts to schmooze the law) so he would share his cup of peach ice cream Never have I had such a smooth and wonderful peach ice cream. I would buy a tub of it in a hot second but for the fact that it doesn’t sell in California. Dang.

IMG_3201 (1024x765)
We were along there an a cold rainy Monday. Now imagine a hot humid southern summer day. This place would be hopping because they sell their ice cream for just a buck a scoop! It has a pretty large parlor full of small tables and chairs that told me they often see busier times. Especially the after school kids.

We watched a short flick on the beginnings of Blue Bell Ice Cream, then got to look at the packaging plant through glass panes. Do you know they have a flash freezing room that stays at -100 degrees! Minus 100! They need special suits to even go in there. Their motto is “We eat all we want and sell the rest”. Continue reading “Upside Down Caramel Apple Pie”

Cheesecake Pie; whats in your old recipe box?

So I am going through my old recipe box (remember back-in-the-day, before you could pull up any of 10 bazillion recipes from the web in an instant, you had to use either your own cookbooks or a recipe from your recipe box that usually came from a friend or your grandma?) looking for something cool to take to a party. Cool as in it is eyeball-melting-hot today and I want to bring something cool! I was thinking along the lines of my grandmas strawberry yogurt pie maybe.

Then I found this Cheesecake Pie. The recipe was sparse. Was there really 18 oz of cream cheese? Wow. (no). What was the whip cream? I had never made this one. I was intrigued!

IMG_2128 (1024x765)

So I had to re-interpret the recipe from my grandma, who has not been with us these 25 years now. But her memories, and recipes, live on.

It looks very white. Maybe it needs some berries over the top?
It looks very white. Maybe it needs some berries over the top? But it was delicious.
Here is someones recipe box left at church in the kitchen.
Here is someones recipe box left at church in the kitchen.

IMG_0203 (1024x765)IMG_0204 (1024x765)

I can see myself collecting old recipe boxes. Too bad this one got away.

Grandmas Cheesecake Pie

 

  • Yield: 1 pie
  • Prep: 10 minutes mins

Probably from some old fundraiser cookbook, this is a pleaser, easy to make, cool and wonderful.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Gather your ingredients. Open up the crust package. Get out a mixer. Mix the cream cheese and sugar until light and blended.
  2. Mix in the sour cream and Cool Whip. I used a wooden spoon for this part to kind of fold in the ingredients.
  3. Pour into the crust and chill. Thats it! I usually freeze until a couple of hours before I need to serve it. It should be chilled, not served frozen.

Easy Pumpkin Pie

I am making 2 pumpkin pies this morning. I thought this would be an easy thing to do. After all, I am using a pre-made pie crust.

I have a can of Libbys pumpkin.

How hard can it be?

Well, not so much hard as messy. And panicky.

Dont you just hate it when you are making something from scratch and everything seems to be going so well, you just put your food in the oven and you are feeling pretty good about the day…then you turn around and see a crucial ingredient still sitting on the shelf? Yikes! All hands on deck!

Harrumph. I already whined about this on my other blog, la petite kitchen, so I will spare you that. But I wanted to share the Libby’s recipe that I altered a bit.  Plus I like using my new recipe making widget here on WordPress.

So here is my adaptation. For the Libby’s recipe click here.

Go ahead. After all, it’s an American tradition, burnt pie crust and all.

In retrospect, in having warmed up the filling first, I might lessen the baking time by 10 minutes or so.

 

Pumpkin Pie

IMG_0541 (765x1024)

  • Yield: 2 Pies (16 Servings)
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 55-60 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 10 mins

This is a slight adaptation to the recipe on the back of the Libby’s can. If you can remember to put in ALL of the ingredients, this should be pretty easy.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix in all the ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. Remember you are using 3 whole eggs and 1 extra egg yolk. I had the heat on low to gently heat the mixture. I dont know if I would bother doing that again. You could just do it in a mixing bowl. If you choose to warm it first (for flavor boost I hope) then reduce baking time by about 10 minutes.
  3. Lay out your pie crusts and set into the pie pans. I use a fork to decorate the edging.
  4. Pour in the pie filling. Put the pies in the hot oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and set timer for 40 minutes. Check and if it looks too underdone, let it bake in 5 minute increments until done. It should still be a bit jiggly in the center.

Pumpkin Pie, its messing with my head

I am sitting here clacking away at the keyboard with pumpkin spatters all over my shirt.

Forgot the apron. Thought this would be so easy-speasy I would not need one.

Dont you just hate it when you are making something from scratch and everything seems to be going so well, you just put your food in the oven and you are feeling pretty good about the day…then you turn around and see a crucial ingredient still sitting on the shelf?

I know you’ve done it too. Don’t deny it. We all have.

You can almost hear the balloon of your hopes pop.

I am making 2 pumpkin pies, one for us, one for a friend. And of course, I can’t just leave well enough alone. I can’t just use the recipe on the back of the Libbys can, a perfectly good recipe mind you, without thinking, “well, what if I …” and there it goes.

So I looked up some good recipes. Like the one from Paula Deen, which I will try next time. (I would try it this time, but I am also making a pumpkin cheesecake as well).

Or this one, an adaptation from Americans Test Kitchen, which, to no ones surprise, is more complicated, but promises an astounding pie. It has candied yams as well as pumpkin, which tickles my fancy and makes me want to try it. Besides which, Test Kitchen has never let me down. But I actually found this recipe on Debi Waylands site, Life Currents.

That is also for another day, as I don’t happen to have any candied  yams and I am ready to bake now.

I feel I make a great concession to simplicity by using store-bought pie crust. The rest of the pumpkin pie is easy-breezy.

Just mix them up, pour them in, bake them!

Well…I decided to use my hand mixer and blend them over a slow heat, just to warm it up and brighten the spices. I used Trader Joes Pumpkin pie spice. (I am finally using it for pumpkin pie! I use this spice for lots of other things as well. Stock up if you can, they don’t sell it all year.)

I thought I might use half brown sugar, half white. I almost used some maple syrup, then thought against it. It might compete with the brown sugar taste and I am not wasting maple syrup. Not at that price! I also noticed recipes using more egg yolks than whole eggs. Hmm.

I  was torn about the crust. About half the recipes called for pre-baking, the other half not. I went the lazy route and did not pre-bake.

So there I am tra-la-la, mixing my ingredients, pouring them in the 2 pie pans and popping them in the oven.

Mixing nicely, thinking all is well. Doesn’t having light make such a difference in picture taking? I love having light now. I did not realize how much I was living in darkness in my previous kitchen cave.

Then I turn around. (music here from shower scene of ‘Psycho’)

There sits a can of evaporated milk.

The recipe calls for 2 cans. No wonder the batter seemed sparse! I thought as I poured “Shouldn’t this have filled it up more?”

Heaving big sigh.

So I yelled, turned off the oven, pulled out the pies. I poured the batter back into the saucepan and watched the now soggy crust get misshapen and messy. I added the other can of milk, mixed it up. Did my best to wipe off the crust and make it look reasonably pretty. Okay, it’s not likely to be pretty anyway. But it did fill the shells decently.

And it is just pie. Nothing to jump off a bridge about. But I will be paying better attention for the pumpkin cheesecake, I tell you!

Here is the recipe as I made it. I am waiting to see how it turns out, but other than ugly, I am not too concerned. (I licked the pan. It made me feel a little better about my morning.)

Pumpkin Pie

IMG_0541 (765x1024)

  • Yield: 2 Pies (16 Servings)
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 55-60 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 10 mins

This is a slight adaptation to the recipe on the back of the Libby’s can. If you can remember to put in ALL of the ingredients, this should be pretty easy.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix in all the ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. Remember you are using 3 whole eggs and 1 extra egg yolk. I had the heat on low to gently heat the mixture. I don’t know if I would bother doing that again. You could just do it in a mixing bowl. If you choose to warm it first (for flavor boost I hope) then reduce baking time by about 10 minutes.
  3. Lay out your pie crusts and set into the pie pans. I use a fork to decorate the edging.
  4. Pour in the pie filling. Put the pies in the hot oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and set timer for 40 minutes. Check and if it looks too underdone, let it bake in 5 minute increments until done. It should still be a bit jiggly in the center.

the evolution of Pear Raisin Mince pie

My friend Rita sent me a wonderful looking recipe that she claims to make every year with great success. At the same time, a neighbor of mine gave me a box of organic pearss she picked up at the farmers market-gratis. Seems at the end of the day they want to get rid of some things and she has been going there for, um, forever. So, pears and a pear raisin mince pie recipe, whatever it means by mince. But I was excited to try it.

And so it began.

2 1/2 lbs. of firm pears. First, I bit into one of the pears. Wha? I tried another. I knew they were misshapen. I knew they were a little green. But these had no flavor. It was like biting into crispy water. I would either have to go to the store and replace some pears or use some of the apples we had just bought bags of. So I used 3 pears, peeled and diced, then added 2 honeycrisp apples and 1 granny smith, all peeled and diced too.

6 Tbsp orange marmalade. Dang, I forgot to put that on my grocery list. When I was at my mom’s house the  night before I was to bake the pies, she whipped out this bag of tiny jams and jellies a friend had given her. They were little hotel size jars with about 1 Tbsp of jam in them. She dug and dug and found 1 jar or orange marmalade! I was impressed. No, it wasn’t enough, but the fact that she had any was kind of surprising. So I took my little eeny-weeny pot of marmalade home with me. I was against going back to any store at this point and was just going to use what I had. Back at home I took out my homemade peach jam, about 5 Tbsp, added the orange marmalade, and mixed it in. Then I took an orange, took about half of it and chopped the dickens out of it in a bowl with my food chopper. Then grated some orange zest into it, picked out the big fiber chunks and added it to the “marmalade”. I put this in a saucepan and simmered it down a few minutes., then tasted. Ohhh, wonderful. I had to taste some more. And some more.

1/4 cup packed  raisins What if I don’t like raisins in a pie? I don’t wanna! But I do love Craisins. How about substituting? Oh wait. Didn’t I just buy some fresh cranberries. What would happen if I used those? Lets find out.

2 Tbsp sugar Now that I was using all those apples and tart cranberries, I decided to up the sugar just a bit. I put in about 1/4 cup of brown sugar and oh, about 1/3 cup of white. (I just scooped, didn’t really measure).

2 Tbsp. Brandy My dear hubby, when I asked if we had brandy, said “sure, yeah.” …Can you guess what happened then? When I actually went to look for the brandy, he changed his tune to “Well, if we don’t have brandy, we have lots of port, which is almost the same thing.” Sure enough, there were several lovely bottles of unopened port which I was not about to open for 2 Tbsp. So I went to my fallback liquor of choice, Tuaca. It’s an Italian liquor that is my secret ingredient in the apple crisps I make. (sure, don’t tell anyone). So I poured in a couple Tbsp. of that instead, so worries. At least I knew that was a tried and true liquor.

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. No problem

1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. cloves or how about a heaping tsp. of pumpkin pie spice? I have 2 bottles, one from our Holiday Boutique at church and one from TJ.s. Both are wonderful blends of cinnamon, nutmeg and other aromatic spices. I put them in just about everything that calls for cinnamon these days, even french toast.

1 Tbsp. cornstarch Luckily I had just bought some. If not though, I could have used tapioca flour, which I also had on hand.

So I tossed the fruit mixture with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl I mixed all the other ingredients and added it to the apples. I had already made the pie crust and had the pie pan lined with it. I gently poured it all in and smoothed it out with my spoon. Then I carefully took the top crust, on which I had used a pie crust press thingy that cut out leaf shapes from the dough for me, and carefully lay that down on the pie. The original recipe called for a lattice top, but I wanted to use my press. It looked lovely. I took the leaf cut-outs and , wetting them with egg whites, lay them around the pie. I brushed the top with egg whites and raw sugar and popped into a 400 degree oven until done. It took a little over an hour and I did have to put a pie crust shield on it when it started browning too much.

I would say the only problem I had with it, in the end, was it was a bit too juicy. I should have used more cornstarch. Perhaps I used more fruit than called for or it was the combination of fresh cranberries and all those apples. But the flavor! How wonderful. And I had a chance to use some of that peach jam. Just earlier this week I used some to make a barbecue sauce that was out of this world. Only 4 ingredients too. But is it cheating if you started with a bottle of barbecue sauce? Then add scoops of peach jam, some garlic mustard and a dribble of wine vinegar. Oh, where was I? Pie.

So I ended up with a completely different pie than I started out with. I had every intention of making the pear-raisin mince pie, really I did. Now I ended up with…what? Apple, pear, cranberry pie? Apple-pear mince pie? Holiday mish-mash pie? Whatever you call it, I am having some for breakfast in a minute. Yum.

Not much left...must be good.