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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Did you know that Jan. 23 is a day set aside to celebrate pie?  What a great way to brighten up mid-winter!  We decided to make the day fun by inviting friends over to try some pie - both tried and true and something new.  I had some limes in the fridge and a pineapple on the counter, so naturally those went in to some pies.  I also had a can of pumpkin in the pantry so some easy pumpkin pies got thrown into the mix as well.  Our friends Curtis and Mary came over (they always seem happy to try some pie) and Paul and Lisa came by and brought some teenagers along.  So along with some good conversation and teasing of the teenagers, we enjoyed Lime Pie (I used the recipe on a key lime juice bottle, although I used fresh squeezed lime juice from the pile of limes lurking in my fridge), pumpkin pie (recipe from the Libby's pumpkin can, with a couple of small tweaks) and fresh pineapple pie.

Paul stated up front that he does not like pumpkin pie, so he didn't try it, but he said he liked the lime pie.  Everyone else gave all the pies a good rating.  Hayden, Paul's 15 year-old son, ate 3 pieces of lime pie and said it was his favorite but he liked the pineapple pie too.  Mary gave her vote to the pineapple pie.

I won't give the Lime and Pumpkin recipes here, mostly because I'm lazy and it's late on Sunday night.  The Lime Pie recipe was the basic one you can find almost anywhere containing sweetened condensed milk, eggs and lime juice.  We served it topped with sweetened whipped cream.

I always use the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe and Libby's pumpkin.  This pumpkin really is better than the rest for color, consistency and flavor.  I adapt it by using brown sugar (real brown sugar, not sugar colored/flavored with molasses - read the label) and throwing in a bit more of each spice than the recipe calls for.

The pineapple pie was delicious right out of the oven, and even better warmed slightly the next day.  I wish I'd had some ice cream to serve with it, because I think that would have been completely heavenly, but since I'd never made this before I wasn't sure how it was going to end up.  The recipe is a keeper!  Here it is:

Fresh Pineapple Pie

Pastry for 2-crust pie - 9 or 10 incehs
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored and chopped (about the size of canned pineapple chunks or tidbits)
1 tablespoon butter.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Beat the eggs until foamy.  Mix in sugar, lemon juice and pineapple.  Pour into pie shell and dot with butter.  Cover with top crust, crimp edges, cut slits to vent.  Brush top of pie with cold water and sprinkle with white sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 50 minutes more.  The pie will be quite juicy, it thickens as the pie cools.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pie Success...sort of

I met Leah in 1984, during my stint as a Journalism Major at Utah State University (this was in-between my Home Economics Education major and the Family and Human Development degree that I eventually earned).  Leah was one reason to enjoy studying journalism.  We both went our separate ways, and I heard a bit about Leah here and there through the years since we have several mutual friends, but I didn't see her again until we reconnected this past year.  She volunteered to be a pie tester for The Pie Chronicles, so we had a great evening of catching up and eating pie.  It didn't hurt that our sons really hit it off - it was definitely not easy to tear them apart so Leah could take her boy home.  The pie I made turned out to be yummy.  Leah and the boys all gave it a "thumbs up".  I think it could have set up a bit more firmly, so next time I'll make it further in advance so it can have a longer refrigerator time!

I found this recipe on

Orange Blossom Pie

3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice (for me this was exactly how much juice I got from half an orange)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large orange peeled and segmented (I used mandarin oranges instead - a large can)
1 pie crust (allrecipes used a vanilla wager crust, I used my regular pastry crust)

1.  Beat the eggs until frothy.  Combine eggs, sugar, orange juice, and rind in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constatnly, until very thick.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Chill completely in the refrigerator.
2.  Whip the cream to soft peaks.  Fold into chilled orange mixture.
3.  Arrange layer of orange sections in chilled crust.  Spoon chilled orange mixture into crust and top with additional orange sections.  Chill until ready to serve.

Red bird

I just wanted to share a little project I finished between pies :-).  This is my first wool stitchery project.  I got a little kit for it from a wonderful woman at quilt guild last summer, and thought one of my kids might make it.  I grossly misjudged their interest. So, I finally pulled it out and made it up myself.  I love how it turned out, the texture of the wool makes it so warm and the wool was nice to work with.  I'll definitely do another wool stitchery some day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pie Fail

Somehow we were inundated with oranges at Christmas.  I got oranges from the produce co-op during the holidays, my daughter brought oranges with her from California, and dear husband's boss gave him a whole crate of oranges for Christmas.  Now it's January and we still have lots of oranges around, so it seemed to make sense to use oranges in this week's pie.  Oh yeah, I also seem to have a plethora of apples.  So I searched out a recipe for a pie using both oranges and apples, and on I found one that seemed perfect (and sounded yummy too).  It's called "Citrus Apple Pie" and used the ingredients I had on hand. As I went over the recipe dear husband said that is sounded like Wassail with the orange, apple and spices, and he was right.  The reviews of the recipe were decent so we invited the neighbors over and I baked the pie.  The recipe calls for slicing the oranges thinly then boiling them in water and honey for half an hour before adding to the apples and baking for an hour.  I figured that with all that cooking the orange peels would be edible, since the oranges were not supposed to be peeled.  All I can say neighbors are very kind and found good things to say about the pie ("the crust is yummy", "the apples are good") but really, none of us liked this one much.  At first the oranges were OK, but seemed to get more bitter with each bite.  Also, the recipe did not call for any flour or cornstarch or other thickener and it definitely needed it.  I cut and served the pie straight out of the oven to prevent the bottom crust from getting super soggy.  In the pictures you'll see the pie as it came out of the oven (when I still had hopes that it would be good), the excessive juices in the cut pie, and what was left on the plates after eating the pie.  I'm not going to bother with posting the recipe for this one. Here's how dear husband summed it up:  "I wouldn't care if you never baked this one again.  But I'd feel bad if you never make last week's pie again".  So if you want a pie with orange and apple, throw in some cranberries and make the pie in last week's post!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let the pie making begin

It started in high school.  I was a skinny little thing (something that has changed substantially during the ensuing 30 years) but I did love pie.  My mom and Grandma were good pie makers, but they didn't exactly make it frequently - pie only showed up for holidays.  So I decided to learn how to make pie, and I suppose I've succeeded.  During my senior year I entered a cooking competition at the state Future Homemakers of America convention and my pie rated "Superior".  And I was officially a pie-maker.  For many years I have made all the holiday pies for my extended family gatherings, and got into a rut of making two pumpkin pies, two chocolate French silk pies, and two banana cream pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But it's time to break out of the pie rut and make it fun again!  I'm going to try new pie recipes, invite friends over to share the pies, and share the reviews and recipes with whoever happens to read this blog.  So let's begin!

Today's pie: Cranberry-Apple-Orange shared with my friends Mary and Curtis

I adapted the recipe from the cookbook "Pie" by Ken Haedrich, using fewer cranberries and an indeterminate amount of fresh orange juice.  I served the pie slightly warm with vanilla bean ice cream.  Mary and Curtis both said they really liked the pie, feeling that the tartness of the cranberries complemented the apples very well. Mary also liked the color of the pie - and I agreed that it looked very pretty.

Here's the recipe, as I made it:

Cranberry-Apple-Orange Pie
Pastry for a 9-inch two crust pie
1 cup fresh cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
5 apples, peeled and cored and cute into small chunks
juice and zest of one orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Chop the cranberries and stir into remaining filling ingredients.  Set aside for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F..

Put pastry into a 9-inch pie pan (I prefer a deep-dish pan) and pour in the filling.  Cover with top pastry.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more.  Let cool for about one hour before serving.

I'm going to try to do a new pie every week or so.  Let me know if you'd like to be invited over to review a pie!