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Crash Course in Pies

Feb. 2010 Rhonda Hair (801) 280-4253 Tips for making pie crust: *Use all-purpose flour or pastry flour, not bread flour. Bread flour will make the crust shrink worse. You can substitute out some flour for whole wheat or nut flours. Make it plain the first couple times. *Butter gives the best flavor but doesn’t hold shape as well, shortening gives more tender flakiness & dough is easier to handle, lard is the flakiest. You can use a combination. *Everything has a pro and con- decide what’s most important to you- flakiness, shrinkage, flavor, speed, whatever. It doesn’t have to be perfect unless you’re trying to prove something…. *To measure water- bottom of meniscus (the curved skin of the water )is what should be at the measuring line. *If you get big bubbles in the crust when it bakes, afterwards press down gently with a kitchen towel; the bubbles will settle. *To make ahead: The baked crust can be stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to a month. Thaw before using. Basic Pie Crust – modified BH&G recipe- makes 1 crust 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour, stirred & spooned in 1/3 c.shortening or 6 T. cold butter, in ¼” slices ¼ tsp. salt ¼ c. cold water- you may not need it all Combine ¾ c. of the flour, the salt, and shortening or butter. Mix with a beater or food processor about 30 seconds, or until it makes a paste and just starts to clump. Add remaining flour and mix or pulse just until evenly distributed, 4-6 quick pulses. Sprinkle with water, a fourth at a time, and lightly mix until it holds together when you grab a handful. If you don’t need all of it, that’s good. Form into a ball, flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Or wrap really well and freeze it for a couple months. Chilling the dough helps the gluten relax, re-firm the fat, reduce stickiness, and it keep from shrinking as it bakes. Roll out on floured surface, rolling from center outward, sprinkling with flour as needed to keep from sticking. Lift and rotate dough a few times to keep it from sticking to the counter. The less you handle it the more tender it will be- the dough likes COLD and QUICK. Lift without stretching the dough and fit it into the pan. Trim ½ “ from edge- scissors are your friend!- fold edge under, make a pretty edge, chill again if you want to give it the best chance of not shrinking, and bake if needed. To ‘blind bake’, prick the bottom of crust, line with foil, fill with something heavy like beans, wheat, or pennies, and bake at 450 degrees 5 minutes. Remove foil and weights, and bake 5-7 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack. You can reuse the weights, and the beans/wheat can still be cooked/ground and eaten. Basic Pie Crust makes 4-5 crusts 5 c. flour, stirred & spooned to measure 1 tsp. salt 1-2 Tbsp. sugar, opt. 1 1/3 c. shortening or 3 sticks cold butter, sliced ¾-1 c. cold water

Combine 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and shortening. Mix to form a paste, stir in remaining flour just to evenly distribute. Sprinkle in water 1 Tbsp. at a time, tossing lightly, until it holds together when you grab it. Form into 4 balls, flatten, wrap, and chill. Roll out and fit to the pan without stretching the dough.

Easy Pat-In-the-Pan Pie Crust- from Cook’s Country magazine 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour 1 stick butter (8 oz), softened but cool 2 Tbsp. sugar 2 oz. cream cheese, softened but cool ¼ tsp. salt Coat a 9” pie pan with cooking spray. With an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour, sugar, and salt and mix 20 seconds more or until the texture of coarse cornmeal. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat until large clumps start to form, about half a minute. Set 3 Tbsp. of dough aside to use for top edge. Evenly press remaining dough onto bottom and up sides of the pie pan. On a floured surface, roll each tablespoon of reserved dough into an 8” rope, place around top edge, and make your fluted edge. Wrap in plastic and chill at least an hour. Prick crust with a fork and bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Cool on rack. Easy pat-in-the-pan pie crust times 4 5 c. flour ½ c. sugar 1 tsp. salt Follow instructions above, reserving ¾ c. dough. 1 lb. butter (4 sticks), softened but cool 1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, soft but cool

Crumb Crusts: 1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs ¼ c. sugar 5-6 Tbsp. melted butter Stir together crumbs and sugar, mix in butter. Press firmly and evenly in a 9” pie pan. Chill 1 hour OR bake at 375 degrees 6-9 minutes, til edges are brown (and it smells wonderful). Chocolate Crust: use 1 ½ c. crushed chocolate cookies (take out crème filling), don’t use the sugar in the crust recipe. Gingersnap Crust: use all gingersnap crumbs or part gingersnap, part graham. Leave out sugar. Vanilla Crust: use crushed vanilla wafers, leave out sugar. Breadcrumb crust: use dry breadcrumbs, increase sugar to 1/3 c. You’d never know! Nut crust: add 1/3 c. finely chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, or other to any crumb crust Use a blender to crush the cookies/crackers, or a cereal box liner or big ziptop baggie and a rolling pin. Shortbread crusts: 1 c. flour 1/3 c. butter ¼ c. sugar or ½ c. powdered sugar 1/3 c. finely chopped nuts, opt. Mix together and press in pie pan, bake about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Chocolate Shortbread Crust: melt an extra 2 Tbsp. butter, stir in 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. cocoa. Add to everything else. Meringue for pies: for 1 pie 3-4 egg whites 1 tsp. vanilla ¼ tsp. cream of tartar (this makes it fluffier) 6-8 Tbsp. sugar (6 for 3 whites, etc.) Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Whip to soft peaks, then add sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time while beating. Swirl on top of pie, bake at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

Stabilized whipped cream- will not go runny ½ pint whipped cream (8 oz) ½ tsp. vanilla 2 Tbsp. sugar or ¼ c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. Ultra Gel OR 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin If using Ultra Gel, stir it with the sugar, then add cream and vanilla and whip until stiff. Spread or pipe onto pie. If using gelatin, put it with a tablespoon of water, let it sit a minute to soften, then microwave for 12 seconds to dissolve it. Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until they start to thicken a little, then slowly pour gelatin in while still beating. Whip until stiff. Basic Cream Pie- makes 1 (9”) pie 2 ½ c. milk or 1 c. + 12 oz. can ¼ tsp. salt 2/3 c. sugar ¼ c. cornstarch or ½ c. flour or 2T c.s. & ¼ c. flour 5 large egg yolks or 3 yolks + 1 whole or 2 whole eggs 1 ½ tsp. vanilla 2 Tbsp. butter, cut in 4 pieces

Heat milk in a saucepan on med-hi heat, stirring occasionally. When it is nearly simmering, in a medium-sized bowl mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Whisk in the eggs until smooth. When the milk is simmering, gradually whisk some of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, enough to heat up the eggs. Put this mixture back into the simmering pan, then reduce heat to medium and whisk constantly until 3-4 bubbles break the surface and the mixture is thickened, about a minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and butter. Pour into a baked and cooled crust, cover with the plastic wrap on the surface (this prevents a ‘skin’ forming on your filling), and chill at least 3 hours.

Basic Cream Pie- makes four 9” pies or five 8” pies 10 c. milk or 4 c. + 4 (12) oz. cans 1 tsp. salt 2 2/3 c. sugar 1 c. cornstarch or 2 c. flour or ½ c. c.s. & 1 c. flour 20 large egg yolks or 12 yolks + 4 whole or 8 whole 2 Tbsp. vanilla 1 stick of butter, cut in ½” pieces Follow directions as above, but when you’re done, pour into 4 pie crusts, or split into different bowls and make your new flavors. If you like to measure, this gives you 3 ¾ c. filling per pie. Pie ideas: each is for one pie Vanilla Cream Pie: exactly as written, top with meringue or whipped cream. Banana Caramel Pie: ooh, so many possibilities! (1) drizzle bananas with caramel topping before putting filling on top. After covering with cream/meringue, drizzle more caramel on. OR (2)put bananas on bottom, stir 4 crushed Skor bars into filling. Save a little bit of them to put on top of the cream/meringue for garnish. OR (3) Cook a can of sweetened condensed milk until thick and browncover with boiling water for 2 hours or open & microwave for about 6-7 minutes. Slice bananas on bottom, cover with this caramel, then put on filling. Or leave it off and just do the caramel and bananas. Top with whipped cream and a bit more caramel.

Banana Cream Pie: slice 2-3 bananas onto the piecrust, pour filling over top. Cover with meringue or whipped cream. Butterscotch Pie: Make this one separately: follow recipe except- start by browning the 2 Tbsp. butterheat & stir over med-low until it just starts to brown but not burn. Use all brown sugar in place of regular sugar. Coconut Cream Pie: (1)-simplest - stir in ½ c. fine flake coconut (or run ½ c. of regular bagged coconut through your blender/food processor to make little bits) and ½ tsp. coconut extract. OR (2) –most ‘real’ coconut flavor- cook this pie by itself, using 1 c. milk with 1 (12-14 oz.) can of regular (not light) coconut milk and ½ c. fine flake coconut. Top with meringue or cream, or chill, whip, and sweeten a can of coconut cream. Follow instructions for regular whipped cream. Top with toasted fine flake coconut. Try it with a graham crust with ¼ c. fine coconut mixed in. Chocolate Cream Pie: (1) stir in ¼- ½ c. cocoa mixed with 2-4 Tbsp. sugar OR (2) 1-4 squares unsweetened chocolate; add sugar to taste and stir until melted OR (3) 2 to 8 oz. (1/3 c. to 1 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips; stir until melted. Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls, chocolate sprinkles, or little chocolate chips. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie: (1)Stir ½ c. peanut butter into the chocolate filling, (2) Make peanut butter crumbs: ½ c. peanut butter mixed with ¾ c. powdered sugar. Sprinkle on bottom of pie crust, saving a bit for the top. Top with chocolate filling. (3) for a more firm and creamy peanut butter layer, use ½ c. PB, 1 c. powdered sugar, and 6 oz softened butter. (4) Make a half batch each Peanut Butter pie filling and chocolate cream filling- spread one, then the other in the pie crust to make 2 layers. For any of these versions, top with meringue or whipped cream and one or all of the following: chocolate curls, peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, a drizzle of melted peanut butter, melted chocolate, chocolate syrup or hot fudge sauce, some of the peanut butter crumb mix, chocolate chips. Cookies and Cream Pie: Stir in 1 c. broken chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos) to vanilla cream filling. Eggnog Pie: stir ¼ tsp. nutmeg into the filling, top with meringue or whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. If you’re making just the one pie, use eggnog in place of half of the milk, reduce sugar down to about ¼ cup or to taste. Don’t add nutmeg except on the top. Peanut Butter Pie: Stir ½ c. creamy peanut butter into the filling. Top with meringue or whipped cream and some toasted peanuts for garnish. Strawberries and Cream Pie: Mix together 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and ¼ c. sugar. Stir in 10 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed, with their juices (or mash 10 oz. fresh strawberries), microwave 2 minutes or until boiling and thickened. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice or orange juice if the strawberries need more flavor. Spread over top of a vanilla cream pie. Top with whipped cream; garnish with some sliced strawberries or one whole one. Also yummy to stir in 2-3 oz. of softened cream cheese into the cream filling. Try other fruits, too- make blueberry & cream, peaches & cream, raspberries, mandarin oranges, whatever sounds good.

*Preparing Pumpkin for Recipes* Thoroughly clean exterior of pumpkin, then clean out seeds and pulp. Chop the pumpkin into 1-2" pieces. (Peeling is not necessary, but will eliminate flecks of brighter color, as well as some of those vitamins and minerals! If you wish to peel it, this can be done either before or after cooking.) Place pumpkin in a large pan with 1-3 cups of water, depending on the amount of pumpkin to be cooked. Cover, bring to a boil, and let simmer until tender (20+ minutes, depending on the size of pieces). Add water as needed to keep from boiling dry. When done, fill blender ½- 3/4 full. Add only enough water to make a puree, about 1/4 c. per 3-4 cups pumpkin pieces. If refrigerating the puree, use within a few days, or freeze and label. Frozen pumpkin will stay good for as long as you can keep it from getting freezer-burned. Use heavy ziplock bags or plastic storage containers. Pumpkin can also be baked like winter squash (since it is one), then the flesh scooped out of the rind. Yields about 2 cups puree per pound of raw pumpkin. Helpful hint: small- and medium-sized pumpkins are the best for cooking. Very large pumpkins tend to be less sweet and more watery. *Pumpkin Pie*-makes one 9” pie 2 cups pumpkin 1 can evaporated milk 3 eggs, beaten 3/4 cup sugar (part brown- the more the better!) ½ tsp. ginger ½ tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg ½ tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pour in an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, or till knife inserted off-center comes out clean (or shake the pie gently to see how much the center jiggleswhen it’s done, it jiggles like Jello, not like water). Makes one very full 9-inch pie (flute the edges to hold more filling) or one 9”pie and one child-size pie. If you double the recipe, it will make 3 pies. (For doubling the recipe, use one can of evaporated milk, then fill up the same can with regular milk for the second can- this is cheaper and also lower-fat.) Honey-Pumpkin Pie: Omit the 3/4 cup sugar and add ½ cup honey to pumpkin mixture. Molasses-Pumpkin Pie: Decrease sugar to ½ cup and add ½ cup mild molasses to pumpkin mixture. *Raspberry Chiffon Pie*- one 9” pie- from Cooks’ Country Fruit Layer: 1 12-oz bag frozen raspberries (2 c.) 3 Tbsp. pectin (Sure-Jell) 1 ½ c. sugar Chiffon Layer: 3 Tbsp. raspberry gelatin powder 3 Tbsp. boiling water Top layer: 8-10 oz. Sweetened whipped cream pinch salt 1 c. fresh raspberries (6 oz.) 1 9” pie crust, baked and cooled 3 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 c. cream, chilled

For the fruit layer: cook the frozen berries on med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to get juicy, about 3 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and salt and return to full boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour through fine-mesh strainer or a few layers of cheesecloth, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Scrape underside of strainer/cheesecloth into bowl. Set aside 1/3 c. of this puree, cool to room temperature. Fold fresh raspberries into remaining puree. Spread on bottom of pie crust. For the chiffon layer: Dissolve gelatin in the boiling water in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and reserved 1/3 c. raspberry puree; beat 2 minutes or until smooth. Add 1 c. cream and beat, scraping down bowl, until cream holds stiff peaks, about 1-2 minutes. Spread over fruit layer. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours, or up to 2 days. Top layer: Pipe sweetened whipped cream over chilled filling. Serve.