Lemon Pie

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Spring & Summer mean lemon pie! What’s great about this pie is that it’s started on the stove top then placed in the fridge for a few hours. Make it in the morning to enjoy after dinner.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 Cup (about 3/4 stick) melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; Grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter and stir with a fork until blended. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake this for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely.

Filling:
2 Cans (14-oz each) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh is always better, if not strain it first)

In a medium pot, whisk the milk, yolks and lemon juice until smooth. Cook this custard over medium heat until very hot – this take about 8-10 minutes – stirring it occasionally with a wooden spoon. Do not let this boil.

Strain custard filling through a sieve into the pie crust shell. Smooth the top. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve with whipped cream on top (or, use Redi-Whip).

The Best Perfect Pumpkin Pie Ever

No, I’m not bragging.  : )

Unbaked pie crust
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Set the pie plate aside. In a large bowl, whisk all the other ingredients together, pour into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-45 more minutes or until a knife inserted about one inch from the crust comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Shoo-Fly Pie

What a pie! This recipe will definitely wow your dessert crowd.  When my husband tasted it he was speechless. Yes, it is that good.

1 unbaked pie shell
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 heaping Tbsp. Crisco
1 cup cane syrup (such as King or Lyle’s Golden)**see below
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
1 large or extra large egg, beaten

Sifted confectioners’ sugar for the topping

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Place the flour, brown sugar and Crisco into a medium sized bowl and with your hands, crumble the mixture so it looks like crumbs, then divide it in half, setting one-half aside into a separate bowl.  Pour the syrup into the crumbs in one of the bowls, then mix the baking soda into the boiling water, pour into the syrup mixture bowl and add the beaten egg. Whisk briskly but briefly with whisk or a fork.

Pour into the unbaked pie shell, then sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top. Place the pie plate onto a baking sheet (for spillage) and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cool completely, then serve each piece dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Wow!!

**Substitutes: combine two parts light corn syrup plus one part molasses OR equal parts honey and corn syrup OR maple syrup (thinner, not as sweet.) OR dark corn syrup (thinner, not as sweet).

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie seems to be from both English and Irish and eaten around St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t care what time of year it is, this is a perfect dish to make on a bleary, rainy day. But don’t let that stop you, we have 15 inches of snow where I live, and it’s delicious then, too! 

2 Tbsp. butter
2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, peeled & diced
3/4 cup frozen peas – no need to thaw
2 carrots, peeled & diced or cut into coins
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour or you can use cornstarch
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch of nutmeg
Kosher salt & ground black pepper
3 large potatoes peeled and diced
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup of half-n-half or milk

And, 2 more Tbsp. butter

In a large pot melt the butter then add the ground beef, onion, and carrots and cook over low heat until the meat is browned – takes about 10 minutes; drain and place back in pot. Add the flour and cook for one full minute, then add the beef stock, Worcestershire, spices and peas. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a pot with enough cold water to cover, sprinkle in some salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for about 25 minutes. Drain and place potatoes in a bowl with 6 Tbsp. butter, the half-n-half and salt & pepper to taste – mash until smooth. I use a hand held mixer to mash them.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and transfer the beef mixture to a 9 x 13 pan. Place the mashed potatoes over the top of the beef mixture and spread around as carefully as you can – take your time spreading them. Dice the last 2 Tbsp. butter and scatter over the top. Bake this until bubbly and slightly browned – about 30 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

img_0107.jpgWhat comfort food this is! And what a breeze to make. Refrigerated pie dough by Pillsbury makes this worthy of serving to company. Sure homemade is always better than store-bought, but for a weeknight meal this is just fine! We had buttered egg noodles and broccoli with it.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or bacon fat
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
2 medium or 1 large onion, peeled & diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled & diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
2 jars of Homestyle brand of chicken gravy – 12 oz. size each
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. cornstarch or other thickener
2 refrigerated pie crusts such as Pillsbury

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the chicken. Cook until no longer pink – about 15 minutes; add the vegetable and cook another 10 minutes on medium-high.

Meanwhile, spray a pan (9 x 13) lightly and in a separate bowl mix all the rest of the ingredients up to the pie crust, then scrape into the skillet; warm up in the pan about a minute or two. Take the pie crust boxes out of the fridge and set on the counter to come to room temperature – or follow the directions on pie packages. Place the pie crusts on your counter and as best as you can roll them into one large rectangle – this is not going to be a really nice looking rectangle – the object is to be able to fit it over the pan, that’s all we’re working towards here and your oven will do the rest.

img_0108.jpgPour contents of the skillet into the baking dish, then place the crusts over the top of the dish. They will probably overhang on the ends and just make it on the sides, and they will also lay across the filling but that’s okay, again, your oven will do the rest.

Make a few slits in the top, place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, take out and let rest for 10 minutes then dig in!

The Best Apple Pie

This will also become your best apple pie recipe. Just wait till you taste it!

2 unbaked pie crusts
About 6 med-large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sugar
A pinch (1/8 tsp.) kosher salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch or flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch (1/8 tsp.) nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
1 Tbsp. milk or half-n-half
1 Tbsp. sugar

Place one of the pie crusts in your pie plate and set aside. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – toss to combine and place into the pie crust, dot the 2 Tbsp. butter on top. Place your other crust on top, seal and flute the edges, then make some slits in the top for venting purposes. Brush the milk over the crust top and sprinkle the sugar all over the top.

Place the pie on the a sheet pan for spillage, and bake for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes more, or until golden brown and bubbling through the vents. Cool for about a half an hour before serving.

Perfect Pie Crust

The name of this recipe is a tall order to fill, but I’ve worked with many a pie dough and had trouble with more than I care to admit. So, in my search for the “Perfect Pie Crust” this is what happened. You can make it super fast in a food processor or it can be done by hand.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
Salt – just a pinch
4 Tbsp. butter, cold, cut in pieces
1 Tbsp. Crisco, chilled
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup ice water

In the processor:
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in process to blend. Add the butter and Crisco and process for the count of 10 seconds. Stop. While the motor runs, add the yolk and water and process just until the dough comes together.

Without a processor:
Use a whisk or fork to mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and shortening and either use only your fingertips to rub the butter/shortening in or a pastry cutter, just until it resemble coarse meal. Using a fork, gradually mix in the yolk and water just until it comes together.

Both Methods:
Scrape/dump dough out onto a lightly floured counter top and gently pat/press it together to form a disc shape. Put into a zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Take dough out of fridge, place on counter, and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Then lightly dust the counter top with flour. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough from the center out in only 1 direction. Turn disc and keep doing it: middle press, outward roll. Keep shifting and turning disc, even turning it over. Try to work briskly and gently. As soon as it’s large enough for the pie plate you’re using, gently fold the dough in half and lay in pan, or roll over the rolling pin and roll out onto/into pan. Gently press into pan and trim the edges.

Chocolate Coffee Crunch Pie for Amanda

img_0098.jpgMy daughter Amanda’s favorite pie. It’s a must-make each year for her birthday. So rich, thick, and fattening that once a year is probably enough, though I must admit we can barely wait for May to roll around. This year we may even share with company, though it’ll be hard. Also, a gracious nod to Dessert Queen, Maida Heatter.

Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups of a package pie crust mix (I use Betty Crocker)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract (no imitations please!)
2 tsp. cold water

To make the crust: preheat your oven to 375 degrees and take out a pie plate. Lightly butter and set aside. In a medium bowl, place the pie crust mix, brown sugar and pecans – mix well with a fork. Mix the vanilla and cold water together then sprinkle into the mix and mix gently with a fork – it’ll be crumbly. Dump this whole mixture into the pie plate and gently, with your fingers, spread around the crumbly mixture and up the sides. Make the sides thicker than the bottom as best you can. Place in the oven for 10 minutes (no more) than set aside to cool completely.

Filling:
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
10 Tbsp. butter, softened
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. freshly brewed, cold coffee

Using a hand held mixer (because it’s much easier) in a medium-large mixing bowl, place the butter and cream cheese and mix on high for 2 minutes; add the brown sugar and mix on high for 2 more minutes; add the cooled chocolate and cold coffee and mix until well combined. Gently spread around onto the cooled crust – use it all. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours; less than 6 and it won’t be firm enough.

Dreamy Maple Pie

Not your everyday run of the mill pie. This is dreamy rich & good! Be sure to serve with strong coffee, tea or a tall glass of cold milk. Absolutely perfect on a cold day.

1 Pre-baked and completely cooled 9-inch pie shell
2)14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (better syrup makes for a better pie)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation, please)
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans – optional but good

In medium-sized saucepan, combine the milk, maple syrup and salt. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture bubbles up, then cook it uncovered for 4 minutes. Watch this carefully so it doesn’t scorch. Pour through a strainer into the baked pie shell and let cool completely, this will take at least 3 full hours in the refrigerator.

Then, in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread on the cooled pie and and top with the toasted pecans if using. Chill for 1 hour. Serve.

Graham Cracker Crust

The perfect crust and oh so easy.

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 Cup (about 3/4 stick) melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; Grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs and melted butter and stir with a fork until blended. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake this for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely.