Monday, July 8, 2013

Great Pies

Great Pies Start with Great Pastry

I make an awesome Blueberry pie! I really like my apple pie too. You might say I have those recipes down. I have never made a cherry pie, can’t keep a peck of cherries long enough to make a pie. But I would love to try it some time. I always seem to have a little trouble with all of the juice in a rhubarb pie. I have never tried using tapioca in a pie for thickener. It just always seemed weird to me. It certainly doesn't bother me that it is tapioca because tapioca is one of my favorite puddings, but why the aversion to it as a pie thickener? I know that I have made a few pies in my time that had just way to much flour for thickener. They were good, nice and sweet and nothing was running all over the plate. But the site and texture of too much flour isn't very appealing. I have never used cornstarch either. Cornstarch to me has always been a tricky thing. You have to reach the ideal temperature and not go over or hold it too long or everything goes back to soup. 

Surely a great crust will make any pie! Maybe no one will notice a little extra juice if the crust is perfect. I have been using the same recipe for years and have shared it with many along the way. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! 

Pie Crust Recipe 

2 cups flour, 2/3 cup shortening, 1 tsp salt and 7 tablespoons cold water. Combine flour, shortening and salt until crumbly. Drizzle with cold water, stir only until dough follows fork around the bowl. It will be a little sticky. Divide dough. Flour pastry towel, flatten dough, turn flatten slightly more then roll. Repeat for top crust. After I have applied the top crust I cut a few vent holes then brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. This makes for a beautiful lightly brown yet sparkly crust. Even if I am making a cream pie, I use this recipe, and make a sparkly crust to be filled with pudding. 

Blueberry Pie Filling 

Keep in mind I use a 10’ large glass pie pan, adjust accordingly. In a large bowl; 5-6 cups of blueberries (if using frozen thaw and lightly drain), 1 ½ cups sugar, ½ cup flour, a dash of salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Lightly fold the sugar and flour into the blueberries. Do not mash the berries! Make sure all of the berries are covered with a coating of the mixture. Put blueberry mixture into uncooked pie crust, sprinkle blueberries with any leftover flower/sugar mixture, dot with butter, about 2 tablespoons. Now you are ready for the top crust. Make a cute smiley face or a message pie. I once wrote “Eat Me” on an apple pie. *Wink* Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar, bake at 400 for about 40-50 minutes. 

It is getting close to blueberry season here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My daughter-in-law and I are planning on picking, tons. LOL Well, not a real ton but I hope to pick a lot. My grandson loves blueberries. Fresh or frozen, he eats them as if they were candy. Fruit, nature’s candy; I would say it is probably one of the best fruits to eat. I try to eat it on a regular basis, even if it is not in season. I freeze as much as I can whenever I can. I sure hope that there will be a substantial amount for freezing this year. It is looking good for the apples this year too. I promised my daughter that I would share applesauce recipes this fall. There are more apples this year than I've ever had. It is usually a race to get to the apples before the deer. Somehow the deer know when the apples are perfect for picking. 

I don’t think that that will be a problem this year, even if the deer get all the low ones there will still be plenty. Somehow my apples trees got quite large when I wasn't paying attention. Or so it seems. I have gone through fazes with my apple trees. It seems as though for a few years we will prune and shape, then we will let them go wild for awhile. They have been going wild for a couple years now, recovering from over pruning. We over did it for a couple years, thinking we knew what we were doing. Since then I have found some great sources on pruning apples and other trees and shrubs. Next pruning I will use one of the guides that I found on Pinterest. You can check out a few sources on my Pinterest boards; "On the Farm" or "Gardens".

Bake a pie on the next rainy day!  It will take the dampness out of the air!