Tag Archives: baking

Pie #6 Peach Pie

11 Aug

Let me tell you, this is possibly the ugliest pie I have made in a long time. It’s so bad it reminded me of the schoolyard chant: U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly! Seriously. So, here are some tips to make your pie less ugly than mine turned out:

Tip 1. Try not to bake a pie while your two children are running around the house like crazed lunatics and attempting to hit each other. This will only lead to rushed baking, which, when attempting a lattice top, will result in spectacular failure.

Tip 2. Use enough water in your crust. Don’t make it dry like me, then give up because your children are screaming like banshees and your nerves are so frayed that your have reached the defense mechanism of completely ignoring the noise and hoping for the best.

Tip 3. Have patience, and work slowly when rolling out your dough for the lattice. Don’t be distracted by the hoard of goblins tearing through the house and calling for immediate attention and incessantly tormenting you and each other.

Tip 4. Don’t just give up, decide to patch it all together badly and, in an act of complete cessation of caring, CRIMP THE EDGES WITH A FORK. Every southern pie baker alive or dead fainted when I brought that fork out. I just know it. I’m almost ashamed to show you pictures.

But I will – and to make it even uglier, I’ll use bad pictures from my iPhone. I’m pretty sure they’re even fuzzy. That’s how much I gave up.

Uneven lattice, CRIMPED edges. It's a mess. But a tasty mess.

Uneven lattice, CRIMPED edges. It’s a mess. But a tasty mess.

Fortunately, Ugly here decided to redeem herself by tasting glorious! If I could justify eating pie for breakfast today, I would. Maybe I can justify pie for a snack.

Possibly it looked better like this.

Possibly it looked better like this.

Okay, now that you have some handy dandy tips on how to make your crust prettier than mine, here is how to make a tasty filling for you crust.

Peach Pie

3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 5 or 6 peaches)
1/2 Cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs grated ginger (optional, but it’s a worthy addition)
2 Tbs cornstarch

At least it set up nicely and didn't turn into a wet mess of goo.

At least it set up nicely and didn’t turn into a wet mess of goo.

Here’s an actual helpful tip for peeling the peaches – Boil them whole in a huge vat of water for about 2 minutes, then dump them straight into an ice bath until they have cooled. The skins will then just peel off like wet paper, no need for a knife. Easy peasy.

Mix all the ingredients up in a bowl, then pour it into the pie crust. Add your lattice, or crumble top, or a solid crust top, whatever makes your little heart tick. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on the crust top.

Bake at 350F for 30 – 45 min or until the filling is bubbly and the top is a nice golden brown color.

It was so ashamed of it's ugliness that it refused to sit still for a picture.

It was so ashamed of it’s ugliness that it refused to take a decent picture.

Eating it warm over vanilla ice cream is really the ideal way to enjoy peach pie, but it’s just as good at room temp or out of the fridge. And even if yours turns out as ugly as mine, it will still taste pretty dang good.


Pie #3: Ice Box Lemon

6 Jul

Whew, it has been a whirlwind of a week and a half. Last weekend we were up in New Jersey for a family reunion/beach trip with part of GP’s family. I had no idea there are beaches where the water is cold in July. It was down right frigid! I’ve swam in warmer waters in March down here in the South. I was also confused by the fact that the temps never got out of the 70s, and that, despite being by a giant body of water (otherwise known as the Atlantic Ocean) it was not humid. My theory? When we drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel we actually went through a portal to a new and mysterious land where it remains cold all year long. Somehow the rest of the family got there too, so there must be lots of portals. Maybe they’re all disguised as toll roads.


Ingredients. That’s the whole list.

We departed this strange world and reemerged in the land of heat and humidity (aka North Carolina) on Monday only to have my family come in for a visit on Tuesday! My brother and his family stayed and played until yesterday, and Biscuit and I dropped my mom off at the airport today. It’s always sad to see everyone go, especially since it means no more older cousins around to entertain my children for me and wear them out so heartily that they sleep a full hour past their normal waking time. It was like magic. Sweet, sweet, magical sleep.

On the 4th of July, which is my second favorite holiday, we had a little birthday party for my kiddos, since they both have birthdays in July. Naturally we had cake, but we also had pie, because….um….well, we didn’t really have a reason. Oh, here’s one: I said I was going to do this pie a week thing here on the blog, so I made a pie.

This week it was Ice Box Lemon Pie, AKA Lemon Meringue Pie. It’s my mother’s favorite pie, the recipe is from her mother, and it is dead simple to make. The filling has 3, yes 3, ingredients, and it requires absolutely no cooking. You don’t even need a mixer. In fact, if you are feeling spectacularly lazy, you really don’t even need a pie crust. Just grab a spoon and eat it straight out of the bowl. I won’t judge.

So tempting, must resist!

So tempting, must resist!

Ice Box Lemon Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, separated
3 lemons, or 1/2 cup juice

Mix these 3 together and pour into a prepared pie crust. Use the whites to make meringue, then brown and chill a few hours before serving.

Aaaand, it separated. Boo.

Aaaand, it separated. Boo.

Sadly, this particular incarnation did not turn out as pretty as I had hoped. See up there at the top? The meringue pulled away from the crust. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that the meringue touches the crust all the way around. While I thought mine had, apparently I needed to smoosh it a bit more up against the crust to keep it in place.

Please don't lick your computer screen.

Please don’t lick your computer screen.

Oh well, pretty or not it tasted delicious! Wait, I think there might be a slice left in the fridge………

Pie #2: Banana Cream pie

22 Jun

Hey, look at me! I’ve managed to follow through with this Pie a Week Project for 2 whole weeks now! How’s that for commitment and follow through? I baked it on Friday and meant to get the post up last night, but I got distracted by the new Thor movie. Priorities people, priorities.

This particular pie has been approved by myself and GP, and our good friend Katrina, who so heartily approved she at 2 whole slices! That’s my kinda gal right there. Something is definitely wrong with her husband, though, because he wouldn’t even try it. Who turns down free pie?

This recipe is pretty simple to make, although it does take some time on the stove top. But if you’re like me, you’ll just turn up the heat to make it cook faster because you have other things to do. Like, uh, go for a run. And sweep. And do my actual job that pays me so I can afford to make pies.

Still warm out of the oven.

Still warm out of the oven.

Just look at that gorgeous meringue, would you? You know what I love about meringue-topped pies? 2 things: 1) they have meringue, which is basically fluffy perfection in and of itself, and 2) they are lovely. I love those little beads that form on the top after the pie has cooled down. I know some people don’t really like how the beads look, but I don’t really know how to prevent it from happening. So too bad, just learn to love it, people.

Love those beads!

Love those beads!

Whether you like the meringue beads or not, this is a creamy and delicious pie. The only thing I would change is to add more bananas; there are only 2, layered along the bottom, and I think it would be much better to have another layer of banana slices in the middle of the cream. I would also change the quality of these photographs. It is really hard to take pictures of pie, I need to get another setup for pie-picture taking.

Yes, it is as good as it looks!

It tastes better than this picture suggests, trust me.

Right-o, on to the recipe. This is a sort of mash-up of two different recipes, one from a Home Economics Teachers cookbook from 1975 and one from an issue of Food Network Magazine. I’m only including the recipe for the filling; either a baked crust or a graham cracker crust will do, and the meringue, while heavenly, is optional. But I suggest a baked crust and, of course, the meringue.

Banana Cream Pie filling
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tbs butter, cut up into small pieces
2 bananas, sliced

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and pale yellow, then add in the cornstarch and mix well.
3. Slowly add the warm milk to the eggs, mixing continually. Then place it all back in the saucepan, and turn up the heat to medium high because you are impatient and hate stirring. Or leave it at medium and just have more patience. Your call.
4. Whisk the mixture continually while cooking until it begins to bubble and thicken up, about 3 to 5 minutes. Once it starts thickening, add the butter all at once and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the heat at let it sit for a minute.
5. Slice up the bananas and layer them on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the cooled filling on top. (Here’s what I would do in the future: layer of bananas, half the filling mix, 2nd layer of bananas, rest of the filling).
6. Make the meringue and place on top of the warm pie. Bake at 375 deg until browned and lovely.
7. Let cool at room temp for a couple of hours, then move to the fridge.
8. Eat it, and share it with friends after a long afternoon at the pool!

Pies! All pies!

13 Jun

Here we are, moved in to our new house for almost 2 whole weeks, but still far from being unpacked. Our bedroom looks like a storage container, and there are no pictures hanging to identify that an actual family lives in this abode and not just a group of squatters that brought their own furniture and food. There are, however, and astounding amount of toys spread throughout the house. And hey, the kitchen’s completely set up!

To break in the new kitchen, the kids and I made a delicious pie yesterday – Strawberry Rhubarb, which just so happens to be GP’s favorite. While baking I had this genius and ambitious idea, which I ran by twitter to pretty good reception.

Here it is: I bake a different pie every week for as long as I can, blogging the recipe and delicious food pictures as I go. Sound like fun? I think so, too! Plenty tweeps had suggestions for types of pie, so I now have several weeks worth of ideas to keep me busy. Add any off your own suggestions in the comments!

Pie is an acceptable breakfast food, right? Because I want a slice right now.

Pie is an acceptable breakfast food, right? Because I want a slice right now.

And so, in a strange moment of planning-aheadedness, I took lots of pictures while baking yesterday. Pictures of pie crusts and delicious filling, pictures of beautifully browned crumbles and bright strawberries and rhubarbs.

And then tragedy struck.

Somewhere in the transfer between camera and computer, the photos disappeared. Well, actually, the computer decided to restart itself right during the transfer and the pictures just vanished. Sad times, man, sad times. That’s about 20 fuzzy pictures of pie that I will never get back.

Fortunately, we are not complete gluttons in this house, and there is still pie left in the plate, providing us with a small bit of evidence of both process and product. Oh, and can someone explain what is wrong with my children? Neither of them will eat the pie! They spit it out as if it tasted of fish oil and grass clippings, and if they didn’t look so much like us I would think there was a switch up at the hospital.

Do you see the restraint we exercised? Impressive, I know.

Do you see the restraint we exercised? Impressive, I know.

Right, back to the main point of this post: PIE!

This particular recipe came from my mother in law, although I’m not sure who she got it from originally. It’s a pretty simple pie, even if you go to the trouble to make your own pie crust, which I do because I find making pie crusts to be a very enjoyable activity. You don’t have to tell me, I already know I’m a bit odd.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

For the filling:
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix together dry ingredients, then add the fruit. Pour into a pie crust and top with the crumble.

For the crumble, cream together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup flour and a pinch of baking soda. Spread over the pie filing.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400deg, then reduce heat to 350deg and bake another 40 minutes until it smells delicious and is a lovely brown color. GP suggests serving it warm with vanilla ice cream, but it is quite yummy at room temp with no ice cream too.

What do you think? Are you going to try it? Let me know if you do, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

Pink lemonade cupcakes

24 May

There was a bakery back where I went to grad school where you could buy cake by the slice. All their cakes were delicious, but my personal favorite was the summer seasonal Pink Lemonade Cake. Light and tart pink cake with an equally flavorful yellow frosting.

A month or so ago I saw pink lemonade boxed mix and coordinating frosting so I thought we would give them a try and make cupcakes.

They were tasty, but not the tart flavor I wanted. So, I decided to turn to that fount of recipe knowledge, the Internet.

2013-05-18 11.50.51

The Internet provided my with this recipe, straight from the Betty Crocker website. I will admit that I did not use her products, but her recipe turned out delicious. Here’s what you need:

For the cake/cupcakes

  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix, the SuperMoist varieties
  • 3/4 cup frozen pink lemonade mix, thawed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Pink food coloring if desired

Mix it all together and bake according to package directions.

For the frosting:

  • 2 containers Whipped Fluffy white frosting
  • 6 tbs frozen pink lemonade mix, thawed
  • Food coloring and sprinkles if desired.

Coco was acting as artistic director for this baking experiment, thus the pink cupcakes, pink frosting, and pink sprinkles. Maybe when Biscuit is old enough to have a say everything will be green or yellow. I can only hope.

2013-05-18 11.50.43

So, did they have the desired taste? Yes, they are pretty close to the taste I remember, although the cake itself was not as moist. But, if looking for a delicious and easy treat to take to that Memorial Day cookout this weekend, give this a try!

Happy 30th Birthday, GP!

10 Apr

I hope you all had a happy Easter or happy Passover! We certainly enjoyed the long weekend.

Sunday was also GP’s birthday. He’s the big 3-0 this year, and I can’t really tell if he’s excited about it or not. I was really excited to turn 30 back in November (yes, I’m just a wee bit older!), but the excitement didn’t really last.

What with it being spring and Easter along with his birthday, GP requested strawberry shortcake this year. Of course, I obliged because I love him and because I love strawberry shortcake!

Now, I could have gone the lazy route and bought those little shortcake cups and some Cool Whip, but come on now, he’s only going to turn 30 once. Instead, he got a nice fresh pound cake and homemade, real whipped cream!

I know I’ve posted my own grandmother’s pound cake recipe here, but I want to share another one with you. If you read the previous pound cake post, I talked about the cake my college roommate’s (Kendra’s) grandmother would make her. When I saw Kendra at our baby shower for Coco, she gave me a recipe card with her Nanny’s recipe! And while I do still love my own grandmother’s recipe, Nanny’s is by far the best I’ve ever had. As a bonus, it’s super easy.

Nanny’s Pound Cake

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake mix
  • 1 C dairy sour cream
  • 1/2 C Crisco oil (some other oils can cause cake to fall)
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C water
  • 4 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. In a large bowl, blend cake mix, sour cream, oil, sugar, water, and eggs. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.

3. Pour into greased bundt pan. Use Crisco or oil to grease, Pam or other spays won’t prevent sticking!

4. Bake at 375F for 35-45 minutes, until cake springs back when toughed lightly. Cool right side up for about 25 minutes, then remove from pan.

How I spent my day off

22 Feb

I had a nice and relaxing day off. I managed to sleep in a little, mainly because Coco had a rough night and needed to sleep in herself. Then I shipped her off to daycare and got to work.

I finished the fronts of my sweater and started the left sleeve. I gave myself a nice manicure, and I sewed a few hexagons for a quilt top. I also made some pie.

It’s a Paula Deen recipe, so you know it’s anything but healthy – Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie. But it is certainly delicious!  You whip up all this chocolate mousse, which takes forever because it’s a quart of heavy cream and 3 cups of powdered sugar folded into the chocolate.

Then you’re supposed to fit all that mousse into a single 9 inch pie crust. Really?

Really really? This bowl is about 3/4 full with mousse, and it’s supposed to fit in that little pie crust? How, exactly, does that work? I mean I know you can fit a lot of fluffy stuff in a pie crust, and this is supposed to be piled high, but I think a pie that comes 4 inches above the edge of the crust is a bit extreme.

I made two pies. One is half eaten, the other is in the freezer, just waiting its turn next to the ice cream sandwiches.

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