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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thumbprint cookies for New Year's

These tasty and pretty cookies are a staple for my family at Christmas, but I also make them for our New Year's Eve gatherings.  They seem a little complicated to make, but they are actually quite fast and easy.  Definitely faster than  making sugar cookies with all the rolling out and frosting - but these are so much more elegant.  For Christmas I usually use jewel-like currant jelly or even mint jelly, the picture shows the cookies I made this time with raspberry jam.  The jam doesn't look as showy but it is really delicious on these little morsels.  Make a batch of these for a great way to start out the new year!


1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg yolk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but you can use the nut of your choice)
About 6 tablespoons jelly or jam

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolk with electric mixer.  Stir in flour and salt.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.  Beat egg white slightly with fork.  Dip each ball into egg white then roll in nuts.  Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Press thumb into center of each cookie to make indentation, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.
  • Bake about 10 minutes, or until light brown.  Quickly remake indentations with the end of a wooden spoon if necessary.  Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to cooling rack.  Fill each thumbprint with about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam or jelly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookies claimed by multiple countries

I first made these cookies many years ago when I had small children and thought these would be good ones they could make with me, since the dough needs to be rolled into balls.  At that time we called them Mexican Wedding cookies.  Later I lost my original recipe and then re-found it in Betty Crocker's Cookbook.....where they are called Russian Tea Cakes.  Recently I heard someone call them Italian cookies.  So apparently everybody wants to claim these yummy morsels as their own!  These are one of three kinds of cookies that I always make for Christmas.  They are delicious and easy to make, but look fun and festive.  (However, they turned out not to be good ones to have young kids help with making the balls of dough....the dough needs to be kneaded a little to hold together well...but kids can roll the cookies in powdered sugar).

Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Teacakes

As always, please use "real" ingredients in these cookies.  Real butter and real vanilla.  It makes such a difference in the quality of the finished product!

1 cup butter, softened (it is important that the butter be softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 -1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I have always used walnuts, but you can use any kind of nuts)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Mix the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla with a mixer.  Stir in the flour, nuts and salt and beat until the dough holds together somewhat.  It will look mostly crumbly but should hold together when you squeeze a ball of dough.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. You will probably need to work each ball in your hands a little to get the dough holding together well.  Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set but not brown.  However, be careful not to undercook the cookies or they may crumble when you try to remove them from the cookie sheet.
  • Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes.
  • Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar, then let cool another 5 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar again.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eggnog Cheese Pie

The Christmas lights are on the house and the ornaments are on the tree, I'm so excited for the music and flavors of the holidays!  One flavor I like is eggnog, but I need it milder than the straight out of the carton taste.  This pie gives you that eggnog experience without being overpowering, and the cream cheese texture is really nice.  I grated some nutmeg over the top and it really finished the pie off well.

(I apologize again for the photography - some day I'll have a real camera again).

Eggnog Cheese Pie

  • Baked pie shell or baked graham cracker or cookie crust
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup eggnog

  • Beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth. Add the eggs and beat on low speed until combined. Beat in eggnog. Pour into crust.
  • Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein

A few weeks ago I received an email from which contained links to a couple of recipes.  I'm always up for something new to try for dinner so I checked them out.  This Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein sounded good, and fast, so I stopped at the store for the necessary ingredients after work.  I had the butcher at the grocery store cut the meat for me while I did the rest of the shopping, then prepared everything else at home while the spaghetti was cooking.  I had this dinner done in 20 minutes! was delicious.  My 9 year-old son requested the Lo Mein for his birthday party this week.  I neglected to get a picture of the main dish, but check out the birthday cake my sister made for him.

Try this dish for a fast and yummy dinner.  It's good enough for company (we served it with egg rolls from the freezer section at Costco - they were perfect!)

Easy Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein - from Family Fun

8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces sirloin tips, cut crosswise into thin strips (I used sirloin steaks because there were no tips in my store)
3 tablespoons beef broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Stir the spaghetti into a pot of lightly salted boiling water and cook it according to the package directions. Drain the noodles well, then return them to the pot and toss them with the sesame oil.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue stirring while the mixture cooks for another 30 seconds. Add the sirloin and cook it, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink.

In a small bowl, mix the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and oyster sauce. Add the soy sauce mixture and the pasta to the skillet and continue cooking, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes or until everything is heated through. Serve the lo mein hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Strawberry Banana Bread

I always feel so virtuous when I make banana bread.  I'm saving those close-to-rotten bananas from being wasted! Imagine how awesome I felt when I also rescued some slightly sad strawberries by adding them to a batch of banana bread!  When I tried this little experiment I had no idea how delicious it would turn out to be.  This was really good.  Another one of those accidental foods that I would make again on purpose.  Give this a try some time.

Strawberry Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 eggs
3 or 4 mashed over ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 quart strawberries, coarsely chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottoms of two 8 1/2 inch loaf pans.
  • Cream together the sugar and butter.  Stir in the eggs until well blended.  Stir in the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla then beat the mixture until it's smooth.
  • Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt gently just until the mixture is moistened.  Carefully stir in the nuts and strawberries by hand. Pour into the loaf pans.
  • Bake about 1 hour, then cool 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Creamy Pear Pie

A couple of years ago my buddy Mary sucked me into a local quilt guild.  I didn't know what I'd be getting into and was really worried that as a beginning quilter I would be completely intimidated by the super quilters there.  I was right - I am intimidated by the talent and artistry of so many of the women I've met at guild.  What I didn't expect was how they would encourage and inspire me to try new things and push myself.

It's so fun to see the beautiful quilts and other projects the women in quilt guild share.  Some are even talented quilt designers, like Jean here, who are happy to share how they created their amazing work.

 This year in guild we're doing a little extra something at each monthly meeting.  For November everybody brought a favorite pie recipe and some of us brought the actual pies.  That's where I got to sample this new recipe, so when our produce basket included some Bosc pears I was excited to give this one a try.

The pie has a yummy, buttery crumble topping.  It can be served with whipped cream, but we ate it "plain" and really enjoyed it slightly warm.

I wonder how it tastes if it's chilled.....guess I'll have to make it again to find out since there was not a crumb left of this pie.  Everybody liked it at my house, family and company alike.  

Here's the super easy recipe:

Creamy Pear Pie

1 unbaked 9" pie crust
4 cups sliced, peeled pears
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, coat the pears with the sugar and flour.  Combine the sour cream, vanilla, almond extract and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.  Add the sour cream mixture to the pears and mix gently.  Pour into the pie shell.  In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together with a fork until coarse crumbs form.  Sprinkle over the pie.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 45 minutes longer.  Cool pie on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes to allow the filling to thicken.  Serve warm with whipped cream.

  “Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Cherokee USALe CreusetWilton,Bags by Bloom and  Harvard Common Press

Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple and Peaches Pie

What happens when there are ripe apples on the tree and over- ripe peaches in the refrigerator?  Around here they become pie!  I kept the spice light in this one, and since my peaches were ripe and very sweet I went easy on the sugar too. This combo really turned out to be delicious.  This pie was gone in a flash.

Apple and Peaches Pie

Pie dough for double crust pie
5 or 6 apples, peeled and sliced thin
4 or 5 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (thicker than the apples)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (use less if your peaches aren't really ripe and juicy)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg - I like to use it freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla - I prefer Mexican vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
  • Line a deep pie dish with pastry.  Roll out the dough for the top crust.  Set both aside.
  • Mix together the fruit and add the sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and vanilla.  Set this aside to juice while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour the filling into the pie shell and dot with small chunks of the butter.
  • Put on the top crust, flute the edges, and cut vents.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.  Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 35 minutes.
  • Let cool for at least an hour before serving warm with ice cream.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Zucchini Pie

If you're lucky enough to know a successful and generous gardener (thanks, Dad!) you probably have plenty of zucchini on hand to do some experimenting.  It's still very warm here so I didn't feel like turning on the oven for an hour to bake zucchini bread, but couldn't resist trying zucchini in a pie.  Hey, the baking time is shorter!  My husband asked to have it again the next night, and that seems like a pretty good endorsement of how yummy this pie is.  We ate it for a main course.

Zucchini Pie

1 single crust pie shell, unbaked
2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1  clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I used white cheddar, use whatever cheese you like or have on hand)
2 eggs, whisked together

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Saute zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic in the oil.  
  • Add the dill and salt, then stir in one half of the cheese.
  • Spoon into the crust then pour the eggs over the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
  • Let stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Apricot and Blueberry pie

When a friend gave us some apricots, I started looking for an apricot pie recipe.  Most of the recipes I found involved cooking and pureeing the fruit to make a chiffon or the use of dried apricots.  Neither of those options was appealing at the time, so I decided to do it as a regular fruit pie - and throw in my last bag of frozen blueberries.  This was yummy pie paired with vanilla ice cream.

Apricot and Blueberry Pie

Pastry for two crust 9 inch pie

About 3 cups of sliced apricots
1-2 cups frozen blueberries (or fresh)
2/3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon

  • Combine the apricots and blueberries in a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice.  Let sit for about 30 minutes to juice while you prepare the pastry and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Stir the cornstarch and spice into the fruit and pour into the pie shell.  Put on top crust and flute edges. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes.
  • Let cool for an hour or two before serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sweety Peach Pie

In March I traveled to California to visit my daughter and her family shortly after my birthday.  When I got there, Cara gave me the delightful book Sweety Pies, An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, with Pie by Patty Pinner.  The stories in this book were so fun to read that I couldn't put it down and had it finished before I headed home. Along with the stories of wit and wisdom by women in the author's life, there are beautiful pie pictures and yummy sounding recipes....but I hadn't gotten around to making any of these pies until last night.  My dear husband invited some people over for pie, so I needed to figure out what to make with what I had on hand.  There were still a few very ripe peaches in the fridge, but I wanted to try something new so I pulled out this book and found a recipe quite different from any I had made before.  This pie is a bit sweeter and less "peachy" than the baked peach pie I usually make, but it was delicious with some vanilla bean ice cream on the side.  The sugar and spice mixture was very thick when I "poured" it over the peaches, which had me worried, but after baking and mixing with the peach juice it oozed out onto the plate....yummy!

My directions here are shortened from the recipe in the book.  I am not putting in all the details of getting the crust into the pan and making a lattice top.

Mayor Ham's Brown Sugar Peach Pie 

Dough for a double crust pie
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced ripe peaches
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Preheat the oven to 425*
  • Place rolled out pie dough in pan and put in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In a medium-size, heavy saucepan, thoroughly combine the brown sugar and flour.  Stir in the corn syrup, butter, and spices.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Arrange the peaches over the crust, then sprinkle them with the lemon juice.  Pour the brown sugar mixture evenly over the peaches.
  • Roll out remaining pie dough and arrange in a lattice on top of the pie.  Crimp edges.
  • Place the pie on the lowest rack in the oven and bake until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack before serving each portion warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

My friend Lisa and her husband had a successful fishing trip to Alaska this summer (OK, a few fishing trips....) and were nice enough to invite us over to enjoy some of their salmon and visiting with our water aerobics classmates and their spouses.  It was a relaxing and fun evening, which ended around a crackling fire (now I want a firepit in the back yard!)  My contribution to the party was this fresh peach pie.  I made it pretty much the same way I do fresh strawberry pie.  My food photography isn't great, but the pie tasted divine.  A couple of the husbands raved about it.  Give it a try during peach season!

Fresh Peach Pie

1 baked pie shell
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon butter
4 fresh peaches, peeled and mashed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4-5 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

  • Cook the mashed peaches, sugar, cornstarch, butter and nutmeg over medium heat until it boils for one minute; it should be thick and clear.
  • Place a layer of the sliced peaches in the pie shell, then cover with half the cooked glaze.  Fill pie shell with remaining peach slices then cover with the rest of the glaze.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Georgia Peach Pie

Some neighbors invited us over to play Rook on Sunday night.  We didn't want to leave 9 year-old Ryan home alone so he went along and ended up beating all the adults soundly (including Joe, who has been playing this game since his childhood).  It was a very fun evening.  Since I had a case of peaches from the produce co-op I made a pie to take along, and I guess it was good because the 5 people at the table devoured every last crumb of pastry and drop of peach juice.

For this outing I tried a recipe from the delightful road trip book American Pie, Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads by Pascale Le Draoulec  
The recipe in the book does not call for a top crust, but I couldn't resist a lattice top on mine.  It's a little bit different method than I've used for peach pie before, but doesn't take much extra time and the result is a bright and pretty filling.  Give it a try - this recipe is a definite winner! (I am writing this as I made it, slightly different than the way it's written in the book.)

Georgia Peach Pie

1 9 inch pie crust

6 fresh ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I was out of almond, so used Mexican vanilla)
1 Tablespoon butter
  • Sprinkle peaches with lemon juice and sugar.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Drain the accumulated juices (about 1 cup) into a small saucepan, and boil the liquid until syrupy and slightly caramelized.  Meanwhile, transfer peaches to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch, salt and almond extract.
  • Pour syrup over peaches, tossing gently.  Arrange peach mixture in pie crust and dot with butter.  Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until top starts to brown slightly.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lime Cream Pie

I ran across this recipe on the Taste of Home website and thought it would be a good way to use up some limes I had kicking around in the refrigerator.  It was easy to make and pretty good, although I still prefer the creamier texture of Key Lime Pie.  But for something light and refreshing for summer, this is a very nice pie.

Lime Cream Pie

Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inch)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
4 egg yolks, beaten
4 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
6 tablespoons lime juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • Bake pastry in a 9 inch pie pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • In a large saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.  Stir in water until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.
  • Stir a small amount of hot filling into the yolks.  Return all to pan, stirring constantly.  Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in butter and lime peel.  Gently stir in lime juice.  Pour into crust.  Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.  Add the sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.  Spread or pipe over pie.  Store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Asparagus Pie

Asparagus season is almost over, and I can't believe I've neglected to post this yummy asparagus pie recipe!  In March I went to California to visit my lovely daughter Cara and her family, and got my issue of Sunset magazine (the April 2011 issue) in the mail the day I left.  So I took the magazine along to read on the airplane.  This recipe looked great, so we made it during my visit.  It was delicious - and is perfect for either a main course or side dish.

In the magazine, this is made as a tart in a rectangular dish.  Cara didn't have one of those so we made it in a regular pie pan.  If you have a square or rectangular dish to make this in, definitely use it because the asparagus looks petty lined up in it - I just did the best I could with the round pan.  Here's the recipe as given in Sunset magazine:

Asparagus and teleme tart

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Unroll 1 sheet refrigerated pie dough and fold in half (I made pastry for a single crust pie from scratch).  Roll into a 6-by-16-in rectangle.  Fit into a 4-by-14-in rectangular tart pan (Tart can be made in a 9-in round tart pan, don't roll out dough, and cut asparagus to fit). Press dough against sides, and roll over the top with a rolling pin, save scraps for another use.  Prick bottom of crust with a fork and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Line tart with 8 oz. thinly sliced teleme cheese or whole-milk mozzarella (not fresh or water-packed).
  • Trim ends from 1 lb. asparagus; cut into 3-1/2-in pieces.  Toss with 1/2 tsp. olive oil.  Arrange crosswise over cheese, tightly packed.  Bake until cheese melts, 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle generously with pepper.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spring Mix Pie

Today was a perfect, lovely spring day - and perfectly lovely for hanging out on the front porch.  The only thing that could make porch sitting more ideal would be having some pie out there.  So I decided to make some pie and invite friends over to share.  Since this was an unplanned pie event on a Sunday, and we avoid doing any shopping on Sunday, I had to use what I could find around the house to create a pie.  I came up with 3 apples, half a container of strawberries, and an orange in the fridge - and a big rhubarb plant in the yard.

I combined these fruits with some sugar and flour and hoped for the best.

Curtis and Mary came over.  Their two sons, and a fiancĂ©e, tagged along when they found out there was pie at our house.  Everybody said they liked this pie - and not one crumb was left over.  I loved it.  This is one I would  make again "on purpose".

The only thing that could have improved this pie would be a scoop of vanilla ice cream  Sadly, we had none on hand....and it's Sunday....

Here's how to make this - it's an easy one!


Pastry for double crust pie
3 apples, peeled and chopped
8 oz fresh strawberries, chopped
2 large stalks rhubarb, chopped
1 large orange
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

  • Combine the chopped apples, strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl.  Add the sugar and flour.  Squeeze the juice of the orange into the bowl.  Stir to combine.  Let this mixture sit while you prepare the pastry.
  • Roll out bottom crust and place in pie pan, pour fruit mixture into the pan.  Top with rolled out top crust.  Brush ice water onto the top and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake in preheated 425* oven for 15 minutes.
  • Turn oven down to 350* and bake for 35 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the fruit is tender.
  • Let cool for half an hour or so before serving.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I can't remember what kind of recipe I was looking for when I stumbled upon this one online.  It looked and sounded so good that I stopped and jotted it down (printer's not working) and probably never did get back on track for what I was originally searching for.  I made it for my family this week and it was very popular with all of us.  I made it in a regular pastry shell, since I always have ingredients for that on hand, but the recipe calls for a graham cracker crust.  If you use a store-bought graham cracker crust this amount of filling would make two pies.  This would be super good in a chocolate cookie crust.  I think that's how I'll do it next time I make it.


1 cooked pie shell
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups whipped cream (or 8 oz. whipped topping, if you must)
chocolate syrup for garnish
2 large peanut butter cups, frozen

  • Beat together the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.
  • Blend in the peanut butter, milk and vanilla.
  • Stir in half of the whipped cream with a spatula, then gently fold in the rest.
  • Spoon into the pie crust, then cut the peanut butter cups into chunks and sprinkle over the top of the pie.
  • Chill at least 2 hours.
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup before serving.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grandma Sorenson's Glazed Cherry Pie

My grandma, Olive Sorenson, was famous for her pies. She was an overall great cook.  This pie is one that my mother said was one of her most popular, but I don't remember ever having it.  I think I was always going for her heavenly banana cream pie.  Mom found the recipe and gave me a copy - it appears to have come from a newspaper long ago.  At this point we really don't know the original source so I have to give Grandma credit for it.  My parents came to my house for Easter dinner so I thought it would be fun to try Grandma's pie out on Mom for dessert.  This is a very different cherry pie from any I've made before and I wasn't sure what to expect - and wow!  It is absolutely delicious.  It's got a wonderful sweet/tart flavor.  Try it with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.  I am giving the recipe as it was published when Grandma got it from the newspaper, but added a couple of notes in italics.


Pastry for 9" pie
2/3 cups nuts (I used walnuts)
4 cups sour red cherries or 2 Nol 2 cans  (NOT pie filling - just the cherries)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh, frozen or canned
2 tablespoons butter or margarine (I only use butter - please don't ruin a good pie with margarine)
3/4 cup red currant jelly
dash of cloves
dash of cinnamon

  • Start your oven at 450F or hot.  Line piepan with pastry and sprinkle a layer of finely chopped nuts over the bottom pastry.  Besides tasting good, the nuts prevent sogginess.
  • Now mix the pitted cherries or the drained, canned cherries with the sugar, salt, flour, lemon juice, and spoon into the unbaked crust.  Dot with butter or margarine and bake 10 minutes.  Then reduce oven heat to 350F or moderate and continue baking 30 minutes longer.
  • When pie is cool, sparkle it up with this GLAZE:  Melt currant jelly in a saucepan, add cloves and cinnamon, then spoon over the cherries.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fruit basket pie

I was a little disappointed when I got my basket from the produce co-op this week, because the berries we received were not looking daisy fresh.  They really needed to be used right away.  We also got more mangoes, but still had a couple of mangoes left from last week.  You know what that means, right?  Time to make pie!  Do these fruits look like an odd mix for pie?

They look pretty together, so why not try them together in a pie?  I think the combo ended up beautiful in a pie, and it tasted great.  This is a pie worth making "on purpose"!

Fruit Basket Pie

Pastry for deep dish 9" double crust pie
3 mangoes, cut into chunks
1 quart strawberries, cut into halves or quarters
1 cup fresh blueberries
Juice of one lime
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour

Mix the fruit with the sugar, flour and lime juice and let sit for 10 minutes to juice.

Pour fruit into pie shell and cover with top crust.  I like to brush on some ice water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an addition 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling.

Serve slightly warm with ice cream.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New favorite pie dough treat

A few months ago one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a recipe for homemade pop-tarts.  This sounded like a fun thing to try.   When I read the recipe it looked to be just pastry dough with jam, and seemed pretty simple, but I never got around to trying a batch.  Recently, when I had some leftover pie dough, I thought it would be fun to try making jam sandwiches with them - like the pop-tart recipe.  We all loved the resulting treats!

I just rolled out my leftover dough, then cut it into rectangles.  I put some of my homemade peach jam on half of the rectangles, then topped with another piece of dough and pricked with a fork a few times.  They baked at 400 degrees for ten minutes or so.  Some weekend morning soon I will surprise my family by making a batch of these without waiting for leftover pie dough!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apple Strawberry Pie

I've been making pies since I was about 14 years old, and developed some favorites along the way.  My family likes those tried and true pies and I could have kept my pie-eating family happy by continuing to make the same pies over and over.  But a couple of years ago I challenged myself to try new things more often, and that has led to the discovery of some fabulous new pies.  This pie is one that I never would have thought to try in the past, and it was a delicious revelation.  This is why trying new things is worth it!  It was National Pi Day (3.14) and I thought that was a fun excuse to make a pie, but I didn't have time or money to go shopping.  So I had to come up with a pie using what I had on hand.  Who knew apples and strawberries could play so deliciously together?  Give this one a try!  We ate it slightly warm with sweetened whipped cream, it would be great with ice cream as well.


Prepared pastry for a deep dish double crust pie

4-5 apples (I used Braeburn because that's what I had in the house.  Any kind of apple could work)
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup flour

  • Roll out half of pastry and put in bottom of deep dish pie pan.
  • Combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix together well.  
  • Mix in the strawberries, then carefully stir in the flour.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spoon the filling into the pie shell.
  • Roll out remaining pastry and place on top of pie and flute edges.  The strawberries make this a pretty pie for a lattice top.
  • Bake pie for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees then bake pie 30 minutes more, or until apples are tender and juices are bubbling.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

On Monday I was getting ready to do the weekly grocery shopping and feeling uninspired about what to plan for dinner when a friend mentioned having had fettuccine alfredo at The Olive Garden over the weekend.  This is an easy dish to make so I immediately latched on to the idea of  making it with chicken, broccoli and sauteed mushrooms.  It also reminded me of my last visit to The Olive Garden, when I tried a new little dessert they had.  It was a lemon dessert served in something resembling a shot glass and was the perfect ending to a pasta meal.  I didn't know how to make that dish, but I did have some fresh lemons in the fridge.  I also had sour cream.  So I made this luscious Sour Cream Lemon Pie.

This pie is so yummy, I don't know why I don't make it more often.  It's probably time to remedy that situation!


9 inch pie crust - baked

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup milk
juice of one large lemon
3 eggs yolks, beaten slightly
1/4 cup butter
zest of one large lemon
1 cup sour cream (do not use low fat or fat-free sour cream in this recipe)

  • Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.
  • Stir in the milk, lemon juice and egg yolks.  Cook over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest.
  • Cool slightly.
  • Fold in the sour cream.
  • Spread the filling in the crust and refrigerate at least two hours.  It's even better if you can let it set up in the fridge overnight.
  • Top with sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

I recently finished reading the book American Pie: Slices of Life (and pie) From America's Back Roads by Pascale Le Draoulec.    It's the author's story of her experiences driving across the country in search of good pie - this would be such a dream trip to me!  The book was a fun read, and includes recipes she gathered along the way.  I've been making serious banana cream pie for years, the kind that requires lots of standing at the stove stirring milk and sugar and eggs until it thickens up into a creamy and delightful pudding.  But when I read the story of the author acquiring this recipe in Veyo, Utah, I just had to give it a try.  Our friends Curtis and Mary came over to try the pie and give their review of it. Oh yes, they liked it.  In fact, Curtis loved it enough to pose for a picture with his second slice.

This recipe calls for banana extract, which is not carried in any grocery store I could find.  I did find something called "banana creme" flavor at a specialty kitchen store so that's what I used here.  I don't know if it banana extract would be much different.  This pie was creamy and delicious.  We definitely recommend it (but I think it would be just as delicious without the banana flavor).

Evaline's Banana Cream Pie

1 9-inch pie crust

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup light cream (half and half)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon banana extract
1-2 bananas, depending on size

Whipped cream topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt

Combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

Scald milk and cream and slowly beat in the sugar mixture.  Cook on low flame until filling thickens.

Beat a small amount of this filling into your 3 beaten egg yolks.  Mix thoroughly, then incorporate egg mixture into the filling.  Cook at low temperature, stirring constantly, until thick, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Add butter and flavorings.  Pour 1/3 of filling into prebaked pie shell.  Slice bananas on top.  Add remainder of the filling.

Let cool.  Beat topping ingredients together until thick.  Slather on pie.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hamburger Pie

This dish has the name "pie", not because it's even remotely related to actual pie but because it's similar to Shepherd's Pie (which, to be authentic, would have to be made with lamb).  This is a pretty fast and easy meal that my family really likes.  It can be changed to use whatever veggies you happen to have on hand - we've had it with many different vegetable combinations and liked it every time.

Hamburger Pie

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 diced bell pepper (I had an orange bell pepper on hand when I made the hamburger pie pictured)
1 16-oz can green beans, drained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce (can also use 1 can condensed tomato soup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Cook the ground beef, onion and pepper until the meat is done.  Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  Spoon the meat mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
  • While the meat is cooking, boil the potatoes until tender.  Mash them while hot; adding enough milk to make them fluffy and butter and salt and pepper to taste. (You can also use instant potatoes, but they're just not as good).
  • Drop potatoes on top of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with the cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alissa's Apple Pear Pie

Sometimes we invite people over for pie on a Sunday evening.  OK, we do it frequently.  Usually these invitations are spur of the moment after I get in the pie making mood.  This week we ran into some neighbors as we were out walking on Sunday afternoon and stopped to chat a little.  When we got in the house my husband said, "We should have them over for pie."  This seemed like a great idea, although I wasn't sure what pie ingredients I had on hand.  After we extended the invitation I started looking for pie possibilities.  We had a few pears and a pair of apples so I decided to try something new to experiment on these neighbors.  I figured Drew and Shauna could handle it.

Another thing I tried differently this time was using milk instead of water in making the crust.  It turned out great - but not really different from my usual pastry making method.  So here's my new and original recipe for Apple-pear pie.  We liked it!

Alissa's Apple-Pear Pie

1 recipe double crust pastry

3 apples; peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 pears; peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a deep dish pie pan with pastry.
  • Mix together remaining ingredients except butter, pour into pie pan and pat down with your hands.  Dot with the butter.
  • Cover with top pastry, flute edges and cut in steam vents.
  • I like to brush the top with ice water then sprinkle on coarse sugar.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and fruit is tender.