Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cherry Pterodactyl Cup Pies*

Say what!? That's what happens when we have too much sugar.
Photojojo Pterodactyl made it into the pie and demanded that you eat it.

Untitled from Kimmy Jaster on Vimeo.

We started out with fresh winter cherries
& the same mini pie shells made for the rhubarb tarts.

Then we made our own filling,
much like we did for our blueberry pie.

1lb cherries
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp cornstarch + 4 tsp. water
1tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
1tsp. vanilla

Put in a skillet and simmer until cherries are reduced.
Fill mini shells (or a full pie shell) & bake until golden brown
I think ours took about 12-15 min.
But it depends on the size of your shells.

We just loved the cherry vanilla almond combo in these, the flavor was amazing!

*Cup Pie--(n.) a treat much like cupcake
as it fits in your hand and is gone in a few bites.
Except instead of a mini cake, it is a mini pie.
Synonym: tart.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Raspberrry Rhubarb Tarts

Originally we were going to make a different type of tart, but I received some Iowa rhubarb from a friend and we ran with that! Rhubarb is kind of hard to get where we live for most of the year. Thanks Mr. McNamee! :)

We found a recipe at the Rhubarb Compendium and used it. Great site if you like cooking with rhubarb! None of us had Rhubarb in a CUSTARD pie before, and one of us had never had rhubarb at all. They came out pretty tasty, but I think we prefer the pure fruit pie to the one with fruit and custard. Though we did like the use of raspberry instead of the traditional pairing of strawberry.

Amy got a fancy tart press from her auntie in Canada for Christmas. So we had to try it out tonight. It's just wonderful! The dough recipe came with the tart press or maybe was her auntie's recipe I can't quite remember. Amy made the dough ahead of time anyway. The crust came out flaky and yummy!

Here's how we made it into tarts!

We put a small scoop of dough in the tiny tin, layered with something nonstick. We used clingwrap.

Then pressed down really hard....

and Wah La! Tiny tart shell without shaping or rolling out dough!
To show how tiny, here's one in Lou's hand.

We put bits of fruit in the tart shells. a spoonful of rhubarb and 2 frozen raspberries, then filled them with custard consisting of eggs, whipping cream, vanilla, & sugar.

Bake for about 12 minutes and sprinkle with sugar. They taste great warm or cold!

My dad said, "They taste just like the ones my grandma used to make!" I can't think of any higher praise than that. I think if we were to make these again we'd add MORE rhubarb to each tart and maybe one less raspberry. They taste more of raspberry than rhubarb.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken & Vegetable Pot Pie

Hi everybody! This is Amy coming at you with this week's pie. 
The idea actually came from my husband. He LOVES chicken pot pie and I've never made it.

One of the things i'm really starting to like about pie is that some pies are more like cooking (with room for experimentation) and less like baking (where chemistry plays a large part in recipe success). With this thought in mind I made up this recipe on the fly....adding seasoning and ingredients and writing it down as we cooked. Result? Success! A creamy, vegetable and chicken pot pie with flaky crust. 

The crust recipe we used was Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust and it turned out to be exactly enough for four mini pie shells and tops. We made one small pie for each person but you could easily adapt it into one large deep dish pot pie.  

Before starting this recipe make your pastry and line your baking dish with it. Set aside. You will also want to roll out the pastry for the top of your pie. If you want to do quick and easy you can also bake the filling in a dish only topped with pastry or even top and bake with biscuit dough.

  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 2 tsp chicken boullion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 cup small broccoli florets steamed
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sauteed
  • 1/2 cup carrots, steamed
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked or around 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 large potato, peeled, cubed and boiled until fork tender
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

So I was winging it with this recipe but there are some classic techniques at play. I knew I wanted a thickened sauce for the filling so that called for a roux! 
Preheat your oven to 375.
First off melt your butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion until translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and onion and stir with a whisk. Let the flour cook slightly (you don't want it to get brown but you DO want it to lose the raw flour taste). 
Mix your half and half and chicken stock together and start adding it slowly, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking after each addition. If you are doing this right, each addition of liquid will thicken with the flour and incorporate smoothly. If you rush the liquid adding step you will end up with lumps of flour and thin watery broth. Add all of your seasonings to the sauce and simmer until thickened. 

Now, because we were making small individual pies we each customized our fillings. I added the pre-cooked potatoes, chicken and mushrooms to the pan with the sauce and then split the filling into four bowls so we could each add the veggies we wanted. 

We also marked our pies so that we could tell them apart after baking. 

The marking is also important because you need to cut a vent in the top of your pastry to let steam escape. Why not make it cute?! 

If you were not making custom pies just add all of your vegetables to the sauce and fill your pie. 

So fill your prepared pie shell with filling and top with pastry. Cut off excess and use a fork to crimp edges. Cut a slit in the top of pastry to let steam escape. Beat egg and milk together and brush over pastry before baking. 
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until pastry is golden and filling is hot. Keep a close eye on your pie as it bakes and if you notice the edges getting too brown cover them with tin foil strips.

Let cool slightly before eating as filling was HOT!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sugar Pie, Honeybunch

To ring in the New year I share with you this classic French Canadian pie, called simply Sugar Pie, it was more of a "candy" than a pie, very dense & rich. Only 4 ingredients and super easy to make, & I must say it was quite tasty! Our Canadian pie baker , Amy, even said it tasted just like pies she had in her childhood.

Recipe here...ALL RECIPES.COM

Step 1: Put sugar & cream in a pan & bring to a boil.

Step 2: Boil the hell out of it. Then add nuts. We used walnuts as per the recipe, but I think it might be tastier with cashews or almonds.

Step 3: Put it in the oven & bake it.

Step 4: Cool overnight. Then enjoy in small portions, with a glass of milk.