Monday, September 15, 2014

Celebrating Ethan's 21st Birthday with a Party and Five Kinds of Pie + Lots of Pie Recipes

Ethan came home about a week ago. We were all so excited to see him! We thought it would be nice to throw him a birthday party. Ethan loves a big party and thankfully we had lots of friends who joined us.
His friends from his construction job, brothers Josh and Austin, were so happy to have a chance to hang out with Ethan. They really miss him a ton. They tried to talk him into coming back to work construction again. I think Ethan might have been a little tempted.
Our usual crowd was happy to share food, grill, party and gab.

When I asked him what he wanted to eat at his party, he answered, "Five kinds of pie, please." And so we had pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cherry pie, apple caramel pie and butterscotch meringue pie. My, I started making the crusts on Friday evening and then finished them on Saturday. People enjoyed the pies. It made me pleased.

I started with the crusts. I love the Flaky Crust found in Cookwise by Shirley Corriher. (It is a really excellent book, especially if you are interested in food science.)

Flaky Pie Crust
by Shirley Corriher (I have written the instructions in my own words, not hers.)

1/2 tea Salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
1/3 cup Icy Cold Water
1/2 pound (2 sticks) Butter, cut into cubes
11 oz. (about 2 cups) Flour, all purpose
Parchment Paper
2 1/2 cups Rice, dry

Dissolve the salt in the water. Place the flour and the cubed butter in a food processor and process until it looks a bit like sand. Be careful not to over-process. Add in 4-5 TBL of extremely cold water and pulse until the water is beginning to absorb.

I wipe down the surface where I am going to roll out the dough with a damp cloth. Top that with waxed paper. The damp table/counter surface will make it cling. Dump the mixture onto the waxed paper and knead the crumbly mess into dough. Once it is beginning to form a dough, pat it out with the heel of your hand and then cover it with waxed paper. Roll out with a rolling pin until it is the desired thickness.

If you have time, you can place it in the refrigerator so allow the butter to get cold again. This will result in more flake in your crust. Transfer to the pie pan, trim and crimp to make a nice edge.

If you need to pre-bake the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a piece of cooking parchment in the pan and pour in the rice. This will weigh the crust down and prevent bubble from forming in your crust. Bake it for about 20 minutes, or until it is very lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment and the rice.

Apple with with Caramel Sauce
modified from:

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tbl. Cinnamon, ground
1 tea. Allspice, ground
1/2 tea. Nutmeg, ground
1/4 tea. Clove, , ground
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
6 - 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 TBL. Butter, cold and in thin chunks of very small slices

Make the caramel syrup:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar and spices bring to a gentle boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer until it is thickened into a syrup and all of the sugars are melted. Be sure to stir often. Once this is done, stir half of the syrup in with the apples in a bowl. Mix gently to distribute the caramel sauce.

Assemble the pie:
Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with the spiced apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the remaining syrup over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Dot the open spaces of the lattice with small bits of butter.

Bake the Pie:
Bake for about 45-minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees F (175 degrees). About 10 minutes before the pie is done, sprinkle a little bit of extra cinnamon and sugar on top of the crust for a nice presentation.

Cherry Pie
via: America's Test Kitchen, also found on KCTE

6 cups pitted sweet cherries or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 small lemon, zested to yield 1 teaspoon zest and juiced to yield 2 teaspoons juice
1⁄8 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon brandy (I omitted this and used 1 tea. Almond Extract instead)
1-2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and zest, spices, almond extract, brandy, and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes.
Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into pie shell. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Refrigerate until ready to top with remaining dough.
Place pie on baking sheet; bake until top crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Pumpkin Pie, Basic
via: Libby's (slightly modified)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 pre-baked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Turn off the oven and let the pie cool slowly. (Cooling too quickly is what causes a pie to crack.)
Pecan Pie

Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping
Butterscotch filling recipe via: Midwest Living

Soft Meringue via:Cookwise by Shirley Corriher

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups whipping cream
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, cut up
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare Baked Pastry Shell. Set shell aside.

For filling: In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and the 1/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, the flour and cornstarch. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir until combined. Gradually stir in whipping cream. Return saucepan to heat. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks with a fork. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into yolks. Add yolk mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons butter and vanilla. Pour filling into the Baked Pastry Shell. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

Soft Meringue

6 Egg White
1 tea. Cream of Tartar

12 TBL. Powdered Sugar

Make sure that the beaters and the bowl are very clean. Use a cooper bowl, if possible. Whip the egg whites until they are just beginning to form soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar at this time. It will help stabilize the egg whites.

In a small glass bowl, such as a ramakin, add 1/3 cup of cold water to 1 TBL. of cornstarch. Stir to mix and heat to thick. Beat this into the egg white peaks gently. This will prevent the meringue from shrinking.

Place on top of the cooled butterscotch pie. I use a wide rubber spatula to form gently peaks. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes, or until there are nicely browned tips on the meringue.

Preparing Bacon in the Oven

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Arrange the bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 400°F.

Come back 15 to 20 minutes later. The timing on the bacon has to do with how thick the bacon is and how crispy you like it to be. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, remove it from the oven.

Rio Muffins

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