Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Tribute to a Tradition: Homemade Pie!!

I have a confession to make. I have never made a homemade pie. Well, that is, until this past weekend, I had never made a homemade pie. Can you believe it??! Many people who know I love to bake find it pretty hard to believe when I tell them (or used to tell them!) I have never made a pie. I figured it was about time to put an end to that! And especially when I have a wonderful mother and grandmother who are amazing pie makers, it's about time I stepped up to the plate too!

You're in for a treat with this post... I'm going to share not one, but two pie crust recipes that my grandmother uses. Consider yourself pretty lucky! ;-)

The first crust recipe is the one I used for the very first pie I made this past Labor Day weekend (pictured above). It is taken verbatim from an email my grandmother sent me with the recipe. :)

-2 cups flour
-1 tsp. salt
-2/3 cups Crisco plus 1 T.
-1/2 cup cold water

Mix together flour and salt. Add Crisco. Mix with fork until crumbly. Add water and mix until it holds together. Chill for 15 minutes or more.

Mom's tip: Mixture will be just right when the dough forms into a ball and clears the bowl.

My hint: I put ice cubes in water and then measure l/2 cup water from that. More water may be added but too much water will make a tough crust.

Please note that this recipe is for one 9-inch crust. So you'll have to double the recipe for a double crust!

And here is recipe #2 from my grandmother, again taken verbatim from her email. :)

-4 cups flour
-1 and l/2 cups Crisco
-l Tbsp. sugar
-l Tbsp. vinegar
-l egg
-2 tsp. salt
-l/2 cup cold water

With fork mix together first four ingredients. In separate dish beat remaining ingredients. Combine the two mixtures until all ingredients are moistened. With hands, mold dough into ball and place in the fridge at least 15 minutes before rolling out. Makes a  9" double crust pie. This is a no-fail pie crust and easier to mold than the first recipe.

There you have a couple "famous" recipes! My grandma's pies are always amazing, so if you try one of these two recipes, I am sure you will be pleased!

Now, my all time favorite pie is, by far, strawberry rhubarb. Mmmmm, SO delicious. I was lucky enough to receive one of my favorite pies from my grandmother for my birthday this summer too! Below are a few pictures of it. I wish these pictures could magically turn into the real thing!! Honestly, this pie is just the best pie ever (especially when made by my mom or grandma!).

I asked my grandma about her strawberry rhubarb recipe, and she says she just follows the recipe on the Tapioca box! Who knew?! I certainly didn't. I bought some Tapioca this past weekend with the intention of making a strawberry rhubarb pie as my first ever pie. However, the store didn't have any rhubarb :-( so I had to improvise. I had some frozen blueberries (hand picked fresh by my mom earlier this summer!), so I decided to use those in my pie. I only had three cups of them though, so I supplemented with one cup of strawberries (four cups of fruit total is what's recommended on the back of the Tapioca box). In fact, I took a picture of the back of the box so you can see what ingredients and proportions are recommended for apple pie, blueberry pie, and strawberry rhubarb. Basically, I am feeling too lazy to write it out for you, so the picture of the recipes on the box is what you get! :)

As I mentioned earlier, for my "berry" pie, I used three cups of blueberries and one cup of strawberries. I added about 3/4 cup of sugar, I'd say, 1/4 cup tapioca, one teaspoon or so of lemon zest, as well as a couple teaspoons of lemon juice. That's it! Oh, and I also put a few very small dollops of butter atop the fruit mixture before baking. I followed the temperature and time instructions listed on the box.

Here are a few more pictures of the Barbershop's inaugural pie during its creation. :) I used the first crust recipe listed above, by the way!

There she is, the finished product!

And here I am serving it (not sure about that weird look on my face or why I'm hunched over like that!).

Mike's family were my guinea pigs, as I shared the berry pie with them when we visited them this past weekend for dinner. Unless they were just humoring me (which I don't think they were ;-)), they really liked it! I am definitely encouraged by my first pie making experience and plan to make many more! It wasn't really difficult at all. It was a bit more time consuming than other types of baked goods I often make, but I didn't find it too challenging (for some reason I think there's a myth about pies being hard to make??!).

Also, one more fun tip for you...  Whenever my mom used to make a pie, she'd make these delicious cinnamon sugar pie dough "strips" with the extra dough. Well, I thought they were cinnamon sugar strips, but apparently they were sprinkled with nutmeg, not cinnamon!  So, you can probably use whichever spice (or both) that you'd like. Anyway, I decided to use the extra dough I had from my berry pie to do this. All I did was roll out the dough, cut it into strips (or whatever shapes you'd like!), brushed them with melted butter, and then sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar mixture. Such a fun treat!

 Here is the raw dough with butter and cinnamon sugar, before popping them into the oven. I actually also just learned that my mom didn't brush them with butter either - another inaccurate memory of mine. Oops! You can make them however you please. ;-)

And here there are, fresh out of the oven and ready to be devoured! This is such a great memory of mine from when I was little. I loved when Mom made these for us!!

Well, that's all from the Barbershop this time. Looking forward to sharing more recipes with you soon!

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