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.