Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 16: Grasshopper Pie

As Thanksgiving approached I signed up for a daily e-mail from Taste of Home with a pie recipe each day. This grasshopper pie was one of those recipes that came to my inbox. It sounded pretty awesome: chocolate pudding with Andes mints chopped up in it, chocolate crust, whipped cream flavored with a little peppermint, and more Andes mints sprinkled on top.

I was a little short on funds so I decided to get chocolate graham crackers to make my own crusts, rather than the pre-made chocolate crust called for in the recipe.

The crusts worked out pretty well, made just like regular graham cracker crusts, with sugar and melted butter and baked in the oven for a few minutes.

It was fun and easy to make. I took one to our bishop, although he wasn't home to get it when I drove all the way up there (luckily I was able to sneak it in the house), and one to another bishopric member who had a sick family that weekend.

Hubby didn't like the pie as much as I thought he would. I think we would have rather had a plain pie shell rather than a chocolate graham cracker crust. I thought it was very delicious, though.

Grasshopper Pie

1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
2-3/4 cups whipped topping, divided
1 package (4.67 ounces) mint Andes candies, chopped, divided
1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches)
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
2 drops green food coloring, optional

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 3/4 cup whipped topping. Fold in 3/4 cup candies. Spoon into crust.

In another bowl, combine extract and remaining whipped topping; add food coloring if desired. Spread over pudding layer; sprinkle with remaining candies. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Yield: 8 servings.

Week 15: Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving and Why You Don't Take Your Dog Along on Pie Deliveries

After the State Fair, I think I was burnt out on pies, and I took a little respite that turned into a nearly-three-month vacation from piemaking. Life seemed to get busier and a lot of the time I didn't think I missed it.

But as Thanksgiving came close, I got antsy to make some pies again. I found myself getting the ingredients for pumpkin pie, even though I didn't need it for Thanksgiving dinner because someone else was bringing that pie. So I made three pies and proceeded to give them out: one to a friend who'd just had surgery, and one to a friend whose husband was recovering from a pretty serious infection.

What happened to the third pie, you ask? Well, that is why you don't take the dog along on pie deliveries. I came out from delivering one of the pies and found that the dog had found the pies I'd hidden under my heavy coat, and was nibbling on the edge of one of them. Sigh.

It felt good to get back in the pie-making groove.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Week 14: The State Fair and the Nut Pie Invention

The Oregon State Fair was coming up at the end of August. I was planning to enter several pies into the regular contest for ribbons. Plus there was a special contest by Karo syrup for the best pie using Karo. You had to take your pie there on a particular date and time to enter this special contest.

I proceeded to look into what kind of pies you could make with Karo, and found that the usual is a pecan pie. Looking around some more, I found some pies using other nuts that sounded good.

I made three different pies, one a regular pecan pie, the other two hazelnuts with two different substitutions for the bourbon called for in the original recipe, and had my Walgreens coworkers try them and vote for which one they liked best. The voting was pretty close but the one with the Toriani butter rum syrup won out.

Then I gave it some thought, plus discovered that we're supposed to invent our own recipe, and decided to use the technique I'd learned from the hazelnut pies, but combine three kinds of nuts instead of just hazelnuts, to make a hybrid version of the recipe.

In the meantime I had to take my regular-entry pies to Bob's Red Mill to enter them. I discovered after making my pies that I couldn't enter refrigerated pies, so the strawberry cream cheese pie stayed home with us. I entered the Cherry-Cherry-Berry Pie that I've made several times before, the Spiced Peach Pie that I made for the Washington County Fair, and a blueberry pie that I'd also made for the county fair.

On the day of the Karo Syrup contest Alyssa and I traveled down to Salem for the day, with my beautiful hybrid Three-Nut-Maple Pie.

We were so excited as we made our way to the building where the contest was (and it wasn't easy, because the map wasn't very clear). Imagine my disappointment when I inquired about the contest and learned that I was supposed to be there 1/2 hour before the contest time. The pie had to come home. It was delicious though! And I will try again next year. And, I won two red ribbons, one for the cherry pie and the other for the blueberry pie. Not bad for a first-time state fair competitor!

Most of this episode's recipes have appeared in previous posts, so I won't post them again here.

And here is the recipe for the pie I "invented":

Three-Nut Maple Caramel Pie

  • 3/4 cup  maple syrup (can be real, but fake seems to do just as well!)
  • 1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Torani caramel syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 prepared 1-crust pie crust, rolled out and put in pie pan
  • Topping: Smucker’s Sundae Syrup, caramel flavor
This pie won a blue ribbon and a special Best in Class ribbon at the 2011 Oregon State Fair.
Bring maple syrup, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling 1 minute, reducing heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Remove pan from heat. Add caramel syrup and butter; whisk until butter melts. Let cool to lukewarm, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes.Preheat oven to 350°F. Scatter nuts over prepared pie crust. Whisk eggs and vanilla extract in bowl until blended. Whisk cooled caramel-maple-sugar mixture into egg mixture. Pour mixture over nuts in crust. Bake pie until filling is set, about 50 minutes. Cool on rack. Drizzle with caramel sundae syrup when cooled.

Week 13: The Orange Mousse Pies that Never Went Anywhere

I joined a group called "Love the Pie" on Facebook, and they posted a link to an Orange Mousse Pie one day. I thought it sounded pretty good. So I went back and found the link, bought all the ingredients and proceeded to make it.

I tripled the recipe as usual. It made so much filling that I had to make 1 more pie shell to hold it all. So we had our pie for ourselves, and 3 other pies besides. And we found that the pie did not taste as good as the recipe looked. It was a little too creamy and not enough orange-y.

And then, life got in the way. I don't remember why, but I just could not find the time to get these pies out to anyone. Finally I appealed to my friends on Facebook to come pick them up, and one did. Cody took another one to a potluck. The last pie just got thrown away. I felt so wasteful, especially since the ingredients were not cheap. But in the end you just have to learn from it and go on.

Orange Mousse Pie

1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup orange juice
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 cups whipping cream
2 large oranges, chopped, drained (2 cups)*

1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Original 99% Fat Free French vanilla yogurt

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, mix gelatin and orange juice; let stand 1 minute. Cook and stir over medium heat until dissolved. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange peel with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add softened gelatin; blend well. Refrigerate until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
3. In large bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into orange mixture; gently fold in chopped oranges. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Garnish with additional orange peel, if desired. Top each serving with dollop of yogurt. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

*One can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained and coarsely chopped, can be substituted for the 2 large oranges.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 12: Off to the County Fair

The Washington County Fair was coming up this week. So on Friday, I spent all day baking eight pies altogether. I entered five of them in the fair. The other three were duplicates of some of the fair pies.

The pies had to be entered on Sunday, and were judged on Monday. But I had to wait until the fair opened on Thursday to find out if I won any ribbons

To my delight, I had won three blue ribbons, for the blueberry, peach, and cherry-cherry-berry pies.

I took the duplicate blueberry pie to work and shared it with my co-workers. It was delicious, with just-right sweetness and fresh blueberry taste.

I wasn't surprised that the other two pies had not won. We discovered that the duplicate lemon meringue pie was more like soup. It just didn't set up right. Alton Brown let me down. (I got the recipe from his show) The meringue looked rather like alligator skin--there must have been too much moisture.

The strawberry delight pie, which is the same one that won a blue ribbon at the Multnomah County fair back in May, turned out differently this time. It didn't taste as sweet, and the cream cheese flavor seemed too pronounced. No wonder it didn't win.

We have decided that the solution must be that I have to combine the recipes for the fresh strawberry pie, the one that I didn't make because the filling didn't thicken up enough, and the strawberry delight pie. That gives it the right sweetness and texture. I guess I've invented a new recipe!

You can find the recipe for the cherry-cherry-berry pie here, and the strawberry delight pie here (but watch for an updated recipe on that one). I'm not going to put this lemon meringue pie recipe in the blog, but you can see here for a different recipe I've used that has turned out well.

I've included the recipes for the peach pie and the blueberry pie below.

Spiced Peach Pie
recipe from, Sandra Lee

Prep Time:5 min
Cook Time:1 hr
Serves: 8 servings.

For filling:
2 (12-ounce) bags frozen peach slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant tapioca
2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For crust:
1 (11-ounces) box pie crust mix
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon peach nectar, chilled, divided
1 egg
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For filling:
In a medium bowl, stir to combine all filling ingredients. Set aside for 15 minutes.

For crust:
In a large bowl, stir together pie crust mix and 1/3 cup chilled peach nectar until dough forms a ball. Split dough in half, and form into 2 disks.

On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough 1 1/2-inches larger than an upside-down 9-inch pie pan. Fold dough in half and unfold over pie pan. Press onto bottom of pan.

Fill pie shell with peach filling mixture; set aside.

Roll out remaining dough and place over filled pie shell. Pinch the edges of the pie together or crimp with a fork. Trim away any excess dough.

Lightly beat egg with 1 tablespoon peach nectar or water to make egg wash. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush top of pie with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut slit in center to vent pie.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through vent. If edges get too brown, cover edges with foil to prevent burning.

Cool before slicing.

Country Blueberry Pie
Recipe courtesy Cheri Garnett, from

Prep Time:1 hr
Cook Time:1 hr
Serves: 6 to 8 servings.

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
3 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
Flour, for dusting
Sugar, for sprinkling on top

Filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and water. Add to a saucepan and heat rapidly until thickened. Set aside to cool as you prepare the pastry. Once cooled add the berries and lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening. Whisk together egg, water and vinegar. Add to flour mixture tossing lightly with a fork. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and using your hands combine dough. Separate into 2 single crusts. Line the bottom of a pie plate with 1 of the crusts.

Pour filling into dough lined pie pan, and sprinkle the lemon juice over the filling. Adjust top crust, cut vents and flute rim. Sprinkle top lightly with sugar. Place pie onto a baking sheet and into the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool, cut and enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 11: It's All Her Fault

As I was contemplating what kind of pie I wanted to make this week, one of my friends posted on her Facebook profile that she was in the mood to do some baking, including a sour cream lemon pie, but she was getting a migraine and was probably going to have to go lay down.

This is one of the things I love about Facebook--the inspiration! So, I set about finding a recipe for Sour Cream Lemon Pie. I found one that sounded fairly simple and good on It turned out that my friend uses the same recipe, but she says she uses low-fat lemon yogurt instead of sour cream.

My husband thought it was very good, and just-right lemony with the sour cream. I should probably try it with the lemon yogurt sometime just to see if we like it that way.

I dropped one pie off to my inspiration, who was resting in her room so her kids let me in and I put it in her fridge.

I took the other pie over to a friend who was moving the very next day. It was sad to see her empty house (the movers had already come and gotten most of the stuff). Since she hadn't eaten I was glad to provide some food, and some company for a while.

Sour Cream-Lemon Pie

8 Servings
Prep: 20 min. + chilling

Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer to pie plate; trim to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate. Flute edges. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk and lemon juice; add egg yolks and lemon peel. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Stir in butter and cool to room temperature. Stir in sour cream and pour filling into pie shell. Top with whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 servings.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Week 10: Celebrating Berry Season

This week's pie was a three-berry pie with a streusel crust. In many ways it reminded me of "Tom's Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry Pie" except that there were more berries instead of the cherries.

My daughter asked for this kind of a pie for her last week in Oregon. She is now off to Walt Disney World for the next several months and then plans to move to New York City.

For this week's decision on who to give the pies to, I decided to post a picture of my pie on Facebook, and take pies to the first couple of people who replied who lived close enough.

One of the first people was my neighbor down the street. I had to try to get her a pie twice, because the first time she wasn't home. I gave her a little bit of a hard time about that. But she had to get her daughter to dance class. When I was finally able to drop it off, she was home alone. She said she ate some as her dinner.

I told the other person I could bring her a pie, and she offered to pay me for it. She hadn't read my blog to see what it was all about. She was surprised that I was giving away pies! Her family was quite happy to get a pie, and we talked Scouts for a while.

Three-Berry Pie with Crumb Topping

6-8 Servings
Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 45 min.


• 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
• 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
• 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen elderberries or raspberries
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
• 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 1/2 cup butter, softened


In a large bowl, sprinkle berries with lemon juice. Combine sugar and tapioca. Add to berries; toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Spoon into pastry shell.

For topping, combine flour, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weeks 8 & 9: Falling Off the Wagon

I fell of the "wagon" of the intent of my project--I made pies, but did not deliver them. I must be in a slump!

Week 8 began just great--I made lemon meringue, again, but this time I used the old traditional recipe from the same 1960's cookbook that my pie crust recipe came from. It turned out more the way my husband likes it, and he quite enjoyed it.

I made one extra pie this week, trying a sugar-free version of this pie, with Splenda. The filling got really lumpy, and the meringue didn't bake up quite as evenly as for the regular pie. I took it to my son and his girlfriend. My son had just had a bunch of his stuff stolen from his house and was a little shook up by it, and his girlfriend doesn't eat sugar.

The other two pies sat in my fridge. And sat and sat. And never got delivered to anyone.

For week 9, I made a pie called "Southern Banana Mallow Pie" because it was the closest I could find in pie form to Southern Banana Pudding (the stuff with the vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding, and cool whip), which I was having a craving for.

I made one modification to this recipe--I used banana pudding instead of vanilla. I wanted more banana flavor!

It was rather interesting, with the marshmallows making the texture kind of different.

Once again I never got out to deliver these pies. I finally let my daughter have one of them for a party, and took the other one to work to share.

I'm gonna try to do better from now on!

Traditional Lemon Meringue Pie

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Argo® or Kingsford's® Corn Starch
1-1/2 cups cold water
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Grated peel of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter OR margarine
1 baked (9-inch) pie crust
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 cup sugar and corn starch in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in egg yolks. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and butter. Spoon hot filling into pie crust. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/3 cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing to edge of crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack at room temperature for 30 minutes; refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Banana Mallow Pie

1 3/4 cup cold milk
1 package (4-serving size) Jell-O vanilla flavor Instant Pudding & pie filling (I used banana pudding mix)
2 cups Jet-Puffed miniature marshmallows
1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
2 medium bananas, sliced
1 honey Maid Graham pie crust (6 ounces)

Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mix; beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Add marshmallows and whipped topping; stir gently until well blended. Place banana slices in crust; cover with pudding mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cut into 8 slices to serve. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 7: Double Trouble

This week I had a pie in mind that I wanted to make, but I made the mistake of asking my husband if he had any requests, and he asked for lemon meringue pie.

Now the pie, or his pie? I compromised and made both.

I'd seen Paula Deen make a white chocolate macadamia nut pie one day on her show. It looked and sounded delicious. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies are one of my favorites so I figured this would also be wonderful.

The ingredients proved to be somewhat expensive--things can get pricy when you're making multiple pies. Between the white chocolate baking bars, whipping cream, cream cheese, and macadamia nuts, this really added up. My goal for next week will be to see how inexpensive I can keep things.

For my second set of pies I chose another Paula Deen recipe that said it was lemon meringue. Instead of the usual cornstarch, sugar and eggs mixture, it involved mixing eggs and lemon juice with sweetened condensed milk.

My pie crusts went really well.

Both fillings were fairly easy to make, too. I was glad since I was making a total of 6 pies! I spent a lot of time with my mixer today.

As I expected the white chocolate filling was delicious!

Pat tried the lemon meringue and he was not impressed. I tried it later, and found it to be most definitely non-traditional. It was more creamy, and not very tart at all.

Since I made 6 pies and we kept one of each kind, I had 4 to deliver.

I delivered one pie to a next-door neighbor. In return I got to see her beautiful just-remodeled kitchen. I now have extreme kitchen envy because everything she'd done was something I have been wanting to do with my kitchen.

Another pie went to a co-worker to "convince" her to trade a shift with me so I could go to a friend's wedding. Yeah, it's a bribe. She loved it.

The other two pies went to church friends. One of them is moving so I'm glad I got to get a pie to her before she moved. Both of them said, "You made my day!" and that made my day.

I'm really having fun with this.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, from

Prep Time: 25 min
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 6 to 8 servings.


•3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup heavy cream

•6 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
•1/3 cup sugar
•1/3 cup heavy cream, plus 3/4 cup, whipped soft
•6 1/2 (1-ounce) squares premium white baking chocolate, melted
•1/2 teaspoon orange zest
•2/3 cup roasted, chopped macadamia nuts
•1 pre-baked deep-dish (9-inch) pie shell

•1 1/2 cups heavy cream
•1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
•1 to 2 ounces chopped macadamia nuts

Place chocolate chips in a metal mixing bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Pour simmering cream over chips and stir until melted. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Beat cream cheese and sugar with a handheld electric mixer until smooth. Scrape bowl with a spatula and mix in 1/3 cup heavy cream. Add the melted white chocolate, zest, and nuts and stir just until incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread into pre-baked pie shell and level off using a rubber spatula. Put in freezer until frozen.

To finish pie, place the ganache in the microwave on low for no more than 10 seconds at a time. Stir after each warming, until ganache pours loosely but is not even close to boiling. Be very careful when warming chocolate, as it will burn very quickly when heated in the microwave. Once chocolate is scorched it is unusable. Spread warm ganache over top of frozen pie, smoothing to the edges with a spatula.

Beat cream and confectioners' sugar with a handheld electric mixer to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe edges of pie with whipped cream. Sprinkle macadamia nuts over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen,

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings.

•1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
•1/2 cup lemon juice
•1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
•3 egg yolks
•1 (8-inch) prebaked pie shell or crumb crust

•3 egg whites
•1/4 teaspoon cream or tartar
•1/4 cup sugar

In medium bowl, combine milk, lemon juice, and zest; blend in egg yolks. Pour into cooled crust.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks from. Gradually beat in the sugar until stiff. Spread over filling; seal to edge of crust. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 6: Cheering Up with Cherries and Berries

I was feeling up for a challenge this week and decided to make the pie that won the competition on the recent Food Network "Pie Challenge" show.

This pie is called "Tom's Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry Pie." The original recipe has pretty specific ingredients, such as "dried Michigan cherries" and "Montmorency tart cherries." Seeing as I was trying not to spend my entire weekly grocery budget on this project, I chose to go with the frozen cherries and dried cherries I could find at Winco. This may have affected the final product, but face it, I'll never know, because I won't be buying those fancy cherries to try it again. It cost enough to get the ingredients at Winco.

Since the recipe included a crust recipe, I decided to try it, and it turned out fine.

The filling went just fine as well. There was a little error in the recipe I had at the time--it mentioned adding the blueberries to the cooked cherry mixture, and then says to put the blueberries on the bottom. I compromised by putting 1/2 cup of the blueberries in the cherry mixture, and then 1 cup of blueberries on the bottom of the pie. After re-looking up this recipe to include in this blog, I realize that I must have had a defective version, because this one doesn't mention putting blueberries in the cherry mixture.

The cherry mixture was VERY juicy, and pretty much filled up the pie shells. By the time I added the massive amounts of crumb topping, the juice was spilling over the sides of the pie. Good thing I had already put the pies on cookie sheets.


When baked, the pie undergoes an amazing transformation. The crumb topping shrinks and caramelizes into this amazing crunchy surface--mmmm delicious.

I'd never made a topping like this for a pie before. Now that I have, we are envisioning similar pies with blackberries. I also saw one at the grocery store the next day with a similar topping, that had peaches and raspberries inside. That sounded delicious.

Cherry Pie is not my husband's favorite, but he tried one piece and would like me to make a blackberry one next time I try the crumb topping.

I took one of the pies to a friend who just moved, as a housewarming gift. She loved it. And the other pie went to our dear Relief Society president, who has been having health issues the past several months. Their happiness made me happy.

Tom's Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry Pie
by Linda Hundt, shared on the American Pie Council website


1 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup Crisco shortening

Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer on medium speed swiftly until crust appears "pea like." Carefully sprinkle ice cold water in crust mix until it just starts to be fully moistened and gathers together. Pat into disc, wrap and refrigerate for at least one half hour. Roll out on floured surface and make and crimp piecrust. Freeze until ready to use.


4 1/2 cups Montmorency tart cherries, frozen
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp real almond extract
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup dried Michigan cherries
1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries

Combine frozen cherries, dried cherries, sugar, cornstarch. Stir constantly on med-hi heat until boiling. Boil for one minute or until thickened. Add almond extract, lemon juice and zest. Pour blueberries in bottom of pie shell and pour cherry mixture over them.

Crumb Topping
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter softened

Mix together all crumb topping ingredients by hand or a pastry blender until crumbly.

Cover filling with crumb topping. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour or until filling is bubbling over crust.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 5: Strawberries, Serendipity and the County Fair

Another week has gone by so quickly! But I did at least have a good reason for most of this delay, this week. I had to wait to see if I had won a prize!

On Sunday, our church leaders announced that we had had an imaginary earthquake, and they asked us to voluntarily live on our food storage for 6 days. No trips to the grocery store, just living on what we had in the house. We thought it would be interesting to do this experiment and see if we could make it. One of the things that I really like about our church is their concern that we be prepared for emergencies, and this was part of being prepared.

The biggest challenge in this experiment, other than possibly running out of milk, was the pie situation. We don't have a whole lot of fruit in our food storage, and not enough fresh fruit to make anything. Dried apple pie could be interesting I suppose. I could have made chocolate pudding pies, but I did that last week. And with not enough cool-whip they would not be as delicious as I'd like.

I finally settled on strawberry pie. We have a lot of frozen quarts of strawberries in our freezer, and it is supposed to be spring (you wouldn't know it nowadays with all the cold rainy weather we've had throughout May). I found a recipe that I thought would work, even though it called for fresh strawberries.

I was waiting for the frozen strawberries to thaw, so I didn't start trying to make the pies until Thursday (instead of Wednesday). After making the glaze and adding it to the bowl of thawed strawberries, I could see that this pie was not going to work. The formerly-frozen strawberries just had too much juice in them. If I put them in my beautiful pie shells, it would be like having strawberry soup pie.

Consulting with a few Facebook friends, it was decided that for this service-oriented project I would make an exception to our commitment to avoid going to the grocery store. At Albertsons I picked up some cream cheese, sour cream, and cool whip. I used these to make a recipe I've made before called Strawberry "Cheesecake" Pie. I could still use the strawberries, I just didn't need as much. My 16-year-old son happily consumed the leftovers. I finally wrapped up the pie-making at nearly bedtime on Thursday night.

On Friday morning, I was driving to work, with one pie sitting on my seat to take to a co-worker who had been having bad and continuous headaches for several weeks. That's when I heard Dana Jeffries of K103 talking about the Multnomah County Fair being held this weekend and how she was going to make a pie to enter when she got home that day. Hmmm, I thought, I have a pie, I wonder if I can enter? I hadn't decided yet where to take my second giveaway pie. This seemed a little too serendipitous.

Usually when I hear something like this and then have to go on to other things, I totally forget about it by the time I could do something about it. But on this day, I got home from work, remembered the morning broadcast, and looked up the location of the fair, how to enter, etc. I debated on whether I could go, and when I could go, and whether someone who lives in Washington County could enter another county's fair.

But with a little more Facebook encouragement, I set out after dinner to go to Oaks Park, a SW Portland amusement park that is maybe one or two steps above the traveling carnivals we got in our small town every summer. A lot of the rides are even the same--the spider, the tilt-a-whirl, the scrambler, and the merry-go-round, just to name a few.

I imagine that the reason Multnomah County has their fair so early in the "summer" is because they use Oaks Park as their locale--they are pretty busy the rest of the summer and wouldn't be able to give them the space to hold their event. And since Multnomah County is also mostly city, with not that much in the way of rural areas, this county fair is also pretty sparsely entered. It turned out that I had the only entry in the cream pie category. I only saw maybe six pie entries period.

Nevertheless I was thrilled to go back on Monday and see that I had won a blue ribbon and a check for $6.00. After all if they hadn't liked it, they could have refused it a ribbon.

It was so much fun to win a prize that I've decided I'm entering at least a couple of pies in the Washington County Fair in August. The competition will be stiffer there, so I will keep on practicin'!

Strawberry Delight Pie

1 pint fresh strawberries (frozen can be used)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8-oz. container of whipped topping
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (I used a homemade baked pie shell)

Slice 1 pint of strawberries and mix with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Let sit until berries become juicy, then crush lightly to release additional juice. Beat cream cheese until smooth and then gradually blend in 1/3 cup sugar. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and strawberries until thoroughly blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust and chill until set, at least 4 hours. Slice and serve.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Week 4 (ish): Chocolate Pies for Visiting Teaching

I am typing this up a week late, and having problems with this current week's pies, so I'm feeling a little behind. I also skipped a week while I was recovering from surgery. But here goes.

For this week's pies I wanted something fairly simple and foolproof. And, unfortunately, I was at QFC when I remembered that I needed to get pie ingredients (that means it probably cost about twice as much as it needed to). I decided to make something we hadn't had in years--Dream Pie. Dream Pie uses a powdered cool whip substitute called Dream Whip, instant pudding mix, and milk to make a fluffy, light pie. I wasn't even sure they still made Dream Whip, but there it was on the shelf.

Not wanting to spend the money on pre-made graham cracker crusts, I bought pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs instead. I followed the recipe to turn these crumbs into crust, and it came out looking pretty greasy after I baked them. Undaunted, I patted them off like some people do pepperoni pizza, and continued with my whipping.

The result--beautiful fluffy chocolate pie.

I was scheduled to go visiting teaching today, so I decided that the ladies that I was visiting would be the recipients of today's pies. Visiting teaching is something that the LDS (Mormon) church does as an effort to make sure that each woman in the church has someone who will visit them, check in on them, help them with their needs, etc. Mostly we try to visit the women who we are assigned to, once a month, and talk with them, have a little spiritual thought, etc. It's always nice to have a treat to bring them, so I felt pretty proud of myself for coming up with something, even serendipitously.

I actually liked the "homemade" crust--it was a little chewier and way less dry than the pre-made crusts. And the filling was delicious. Mmmm! This was one pie my husband really liked, too!


2 env. Dream Whip whipped topping mix
2 3/4 c. cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 (4 oz.) pkgs. instant pudding mix
1 baked 9" pie shell, cooled or 1 graham cracker or chocolate crust

Beat Dream Whip mix with 1 cup of milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on high for about 6 minutes until thick and forms peaks. Add remaining milk and the pudding mix; blend on low. Beat on high for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Spoon into pie shell; chill at least 4 hours.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week 3: Teacher Appreciation Week

This week (actually last week, because I'm writing this after my gall bladder surgery on Friday May 7th) was Teacher Appreciation Week, so I decided to deliver pies to my sons' classes. Both of my youngest sons are in special ed classrooms for students with high-functioning autism or Aspergers--one in middle school, one in high school. Each classroom has a teacher and several aides. So a pie for them to share is just perfect.

This week I felt like Peanut Butter Pie and found one via that sounded appealing. It included cream cheese, peanut butter, peanut butter cups, and an oreo crust.

This week I had no problems getting the pie to set up. I did have to wait several hours for it to fully firm up though, so with my busy schedule I had to wait until Thursday to deliver them. And B's teacher didn't get hers until Friday, because by the time I made it over there she'd gone on to her sports team practice--the school day was over.

Both classrooms were very appreciative of their pies though!

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie from

Quartered peanut butter cups top this rich smooth pie from Rhonda McDaniel of Rossville, Georgia. "It's always a hit at gatherings," she says. "It saves time, too, because it can be made in advance and frozen until needed."

6-8 Servings
Prep: 15 min. + chilling

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup whipped topping
14 peanut butter cups,divided
1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches)

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until
light and fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Coarsely chop half of the
peanut butter cups; stir into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into crust. Quarter remaining peanut butter cups; arrange over
the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Yield: 6-8