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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pineapple Mango Pie

I have determined that my family members are not big mango eaters.  We got some Mexican mangoes from the produce co-op two weeks ago, and only one had been eaten by last night.  At this point these things needed to be used.  I also had a pineapple sitting on the counter that I'd been too lazy to cut up and it wasn't getting any younger either, so it was time to do a tropical pie.  I went to to search for a pie recipe using mango and pineapple and found this lovely pie.  It called for crushed pineapple, but I used chopped up fresh pineapple instead.  I can't imagine that canned pineapple would have been as good - the "real" bites of pineapple in this pie were yummy!  The whole family enjoyed this pie for a Monday night treat (well, I saved mine for Tuesday morning breakfast).

Pineapple-Mango Pie

4-5 mangoes, peeled and diced
1 fresh pineapple, cut into tidbits or chunks
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons apple juice
5 Tablespoons instant tapioca
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
1 recipe of pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie

  • Mix the fruit, sugars, juice and tapioca together.  Let stand in bowl for 20 minutes (this is the time to make the pastry).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour filling into the unbaked pie shell, and dot with butter.  Cover with top crust and seal edges.  Cut slits in top of outer crust.
  • This pie will be juicy and may bubble over, so place it in the oven on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, or until bubbles burst slowly and the crust is light golden brown.  Let pie cool, and serve at room temperature.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thanks, Grandma

My Grandma Sorenson was amazing.  She gave up a business school scholarship to marry a farmer right after high school, and started a life of cooking for the farmhands....and she became a wonderful cook and baker.  She was also a beautiful seamstress.  She became famous (at least in the family) for her fabulous bread and pies.  When my mother was in high school, Grandpa was involved in a farming accident and wasn't expected to be able to walk again.  So they had to move to the city so Grandpa could get medical care, and Grandma went back to school and went to work to support the family.  (Grandpa was pretty amazing himself, and DID walk again with the help of a cane.)  In 1995 Grandma gave me one of her favorite bread cookbooks and sort of passed the torch to me.  This was a great vote of confidence, so I've tried to make bread every so often since then (it was the same year I graduated from college and I've worked full-time since then so time to make bread has been a bit hard to find at times).  I had a relaxing Sunday this week, so I pulled out Grandma's cookbook and made a couple of loaves from my favorite bread recipe.  I appreciate the legacy my grandma left of taking pride in homemaking, and her example that women can be skilled homemakers as well as smart and successful in the workplace.

This bread has great flavor and I love it's soft texture.  I used quick rise yeast (which cut rising times in half) and baked it in my favorite ceramic bread pans.

Whole Wheat Bread from The Book of Bread  by Judith & Evan Jones

Makes 2 8-inch loaves

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey, molasses, brown sugar, or combination
1 tablespoon course salt or 2 teaspoons table salt
2-3 cups white flour, preferably unbleached
3 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Warm half the milk and stir in the butter, sweetener, and salt.  Add remaining milk and when cool to the touch combine with the dissolved yeast.  Add 2 cups of the white flour, the whole wheat flour, and the wheat germ; blend thoroughly.

Turn out on a floured surface; let rest while you clean and grease the bowl.  Knead the dough about 10 minutes, adding as much white four as necessary to keep dough from sticking.  When it is smooth and elastic, return the dough to the greased bowl.  Let rise in a draft-free place, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk - about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down, knead 1 minute, then shape into 2 loaves and put in greased 8-inch bread pans.  Cover with a towel and let rise about 45 minutes, until dough just swells over top of pans.

Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 10 minutes, turn heat to 350 degrees, and bake 25 minutes longer, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool on racks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


When I picked up my basket of produce from the co-op this morning, I felt somewhat guilty when I saw that we got strawberries again.  I still had an almost full container of strawberries and blackberries from last week!  I got home and opened the refrigerator and also found some blueberries that were about to go past their prime.  I don't know how this happened.  How could we not eat these beauties for a week...or two...?  I couldn't let this situation continue, so of course I made a pie.  I enjoy making fresh strawberry pie that is "all natural" - none of that packaged "goo" that the grocery stores sell and restaurants use.  That stuff is a nasty way to ruin perfectly lovely berries. No - the berries in a good fresh berry pie just need to be held together with a bit of sweetened, mashed berries.  I used my tried and true fresh strawberry pie recipe but tossed in a few blueberries and the half pint of blackberries as well.

Tonight our friends Curtis and Mary dropped by, so of course we invited them to try out this pie.  Mary loved it and named it "Triple Berry Pie".  It was great with sweetened whipped cream on top. (I hear vanilla ice cream was good with it too.)  My son and my husband may have had more than one piece.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Triple Berry Pie

1 9-inch baked pie shell

You need a total of about 4 cups of berries.  The combination of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries is very nice.

1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

  • Wash, drain and hull the berries and set them aside.
  • Mash about 1 cup of strawberries with a potato masher until well juiced, making about 1-1/2 cups of pulpy liquid.  Put them into a medium saucepan and stir in the sugar and cornstarch.  Cook over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil and stir 1 minute, until thickened.  Cool.
  • Toss berries together and pile into pie shell.
  • Pour the cooked mixture over the berries in the pie shell, covering the top of all the berries.
  • Chill at least two hours, then serve topped with sweetened whipped cream.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hawaiian Dream Cream Pie

I've had this recipe on hold for a week like this one, when I didn't take the time to bake a pie.  I made bunny cakes for the extended family Easter gathering but neglected to take any pictures.  Maybe next year I'll post how to make these cute Easter cakes.  For now I'll share the recipe I made up for the pie we named "Hawaiian Dream Cream Pie".

My son Trevor is a stage technician, and has enjoyed working at the Sundance Film Festival.  Before he left for a couple of weeks of rubbing elbows with celebrities in January, he brought his wife over for some pie.  It was another of those pie occasions when I scoped out the fridge and pantry to see what I had to work with before deciding what kind of pie to make (I think the "Dream" part came into the name because the paradise of Hawaii really did feel like a dream during the cold and dark of January).  I ended up inventing this one and Trevor and Christi rated it highly, so here's the recipe:

Hawaiian Dream Cream Pie

Baked pastry for one crust pie (9 or 10 inch)
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla (Mexican preferred)
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 - 2 bananas
8 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup sweetened whipped cream
maraschino cherries (optional)

  • Beat the egg yolks with a fork in a medium sized bowl and set aside.  Mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan then gradually stir in the milk.  Cook on medium, stirring constantly, until it boils.  Boil and stir for one minute.
  • Stir half the milk mixture gradually into the egg yolks, then stir it all back into the hot mixture in the pan. Boil and stir one minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in the butter, vanilla and coconut.  Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the mixture and let cool.
  • Slice the banana into the bottom of the pie shell, then pour the pudding mixture over the top.
  • Refrigerate the pie, with plastic wrap covering it (to avoid forming a "skin") until set.
  • Carefully spread pineapple over the top of the pie, then cover with whipped cream.
  • Let chill until completely set (several hours is best).
  • Garnish with cherries if desired.