Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pie Adventures (4)

So, since I've decided to have a year of Pie Adventures, I've only grown more excited about the prospect and I want to share as much as I can with all of, recipes, funny pie stories, etc. So... here's what I've made since last time:

I realized it's been a few weeks since I posted some pies for you all.  Following up the key lime pie and savory meat pie, I decided to try some very different things.  I actually have FOUR new pies to share! The first, was a nice, easy and interesting pie...CINNAMON APPLESAUCE PIE from Ken Haedrich's Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie. (All of today's recipes are from this book) 

1 (9-inch) premade crust
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups sweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest 
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Place pie crust into greased pie pan and place in freezer for 15 mins. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Combine the eggs, egg yolk, and sugars in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend the ingredients until well mixed. Add all the remaining ingredients and beat again until evenly blended. Carefully pour the filling into the chilled pie shell. 
4. Place the pie on center oven rack and bake for 15 mins. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for another 30 mins. Rotate the pie 180 degrees (so that the back is now in front) when there's about 15 mins. left. 
5. Let pie cool completely before serving. 

This pie was pretty good!  You could eat it warmed up or cold...either way it was deliciously cinnamon apple-y, which is one of my favorite flavors.  

In fact, I liked this one enough that it inspired me to go for a more difficult apple pie next, the CARAMEL APPLE PECAN pie. (Plus, I'd gotten requests from both the hubs and my boss for a pecan pie 

1 (9-inch) premade pie crust
10 caramels, cut into 4 pieces each
[filling] 7 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (I chose granny smith)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
[topping] 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tblsp. cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 in. pieces
[caramel garnish] 3 Tblsp. unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 Tblsp. water
30 caramels
large handful of pecan halves
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Place pie crust in greased pie pan. Scatter the caramel pieces into the pie shell and place in freezer while preparing the filling. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Combine the apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Mix well, then set aside for 10 mins. Mix the granulated sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Stir the mixture into the fruit along with the cinnamon and vanilla. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and flatten. 
3. Put the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. 
4. Make the crumb topping. Combine the flour, pecan halves, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times, chopping the nuts coarsely. Scatter the butter over the dry mixture and pulse the machine again until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a medium-sized bowl and rub the mixture between fingers to make damp, gravelly crumbs. 
5. Remove pie from oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Carefully dumb crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading evenly over the surface with hands. Return pie to oven, on a pie sheet, placing the part that had been in back in the front.
6. Bake another 30 minutes.
7. Take pie out and let cool for about an hour. 
8. While pie is still warm, (at almost the end of the cooling hour) prepare the caramel
garnish. Combine the butter, water, and caramels in the top of a double boiler (I used a large metal bowl on top of a pot). Melt the caramels over, NOT in, barely simmering water. When melted, whisk the mixture until it is smooth, then drizzle the caramel over the entire surface of the pie. 
9. Immediately press the pecan halves into the caramel then sprinkle chopped pecans over top, as well.  Let cool for another hour before serving. 

This pie came out AMAZING.  I won't lie.  Good cold. Amazing once warmed so the caramels melt again.  Ridiculously good...and pretty aggravating to make.  Not that it wasn't worth it, but this is NOT a pie to make on a whim.  This pie took about 3 hours from start to finish and had so many steps! Thank goodness the end result was fantastic.  I plan to make it again, but only for a special occasion. 

On the heels of this challenging bake, I decided to try something simple again. My husband loves peanut butter, so I decided to try a PEANUT BUTTER PIE. 

1 (9-inch) premade pie crust
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts

1. Place pie crust in greased pie pan and place in freezer for 15 mins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until frothy. Whisk in the corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the peanuts. Slowly pour the filling into the pie shell and rake the peanuts with a fork to distribute evenly. 
3. Place pie on center oven rack and bake for 30 mins. Then rotate pie so back is in front and bake for 20 additional mins. 
4. Let pie cool completely, then refridgerate overnight. Serve chilled. 

This pie should most definitely be served cold.  We tried pieces before it had cooled completely and were both disappointed.  Then we tried pieces the second day and LOVED it.  It really does need to be ice cold. It tastes like crunchy peanut butter and was a huge hit at both home and work. 

Easy and tasty, I'll definitely make that one again.  Two tips - dark corn syrup NOT light for sure.  It makes the pie more appealing visually, though I think the taste would be about the same.  Second, make sure you get roasted peanuts, but not the sweetened kind. You really want this pie to taste like pure peanuts. 

All right, last pie for tonight!  After two nut based pies, I decided I wanted a fruity one. So, tonight for the Superbowl, we had STRAWBERRY PIE. Nice and light and just right after so many "heavy" pies.  It almost felt like summer...

2 (9-inch) premade pie crusts
[filling] 4 cups hulled and thickly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tblsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
[glaze] sugar

1. Place the pie crust in a greased pie pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  
2. Put strawberries in a large bowl. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add the mixture to the fruit and toss well. Add the lemon juice and nutmeg and toss again.  Set aside for 10 mins. 
3. Turn the filling into the pie shell and smooth fruit with a spoon. Dot the top with butter. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell and press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge.  Trim the overhang. Cut a few vents in the top of the pie crust. 
4. Sprinkle the top crust evenly with sugar, then with milk. 
5. Place pie on center oven rack and bake for 30 mins. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and rotate the pie so the back is now in front (may want to place on a cookie sheet). 
6. Bake for another 35 mins. If top of pie begins to get too brown, cover with tented aluminum foil for last 10 mins. 
7. Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

As I said this pie was light and berry-licious.  I topped it with some whipped cream, but if warmed, this pie could also be served with vanilla ice cream.  YUM!

Hope you're not pied out yet, because I'll be getting you more pictures and recipes soon.  I'm averaging a pie a week so far... LOL!

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