Red, White, and Blue – Berry Pie

I’m going for a quick post today, as Summer has finally hit the Northwest.

It never fails – July 5th is almost always our unofficial start to summer around here.

(I have to admit, yesterday was pretty darn perfect, too.  I do believe they said on the news that it was only the ninth Fourth of July since 1948 that it was at least 70 degrees with no rain.)

Anyways, we’re scheduled for 7 days of sun, with our highs in the 70’s and low 80’s – which to me, is pretty darn near perfect.

(Though I am thinking about you all in triple digits… hoping you get some much-needed relief very soon.)

So, I’m going outside.

And I’m staying out there.

Just be prepared, I may not be baking for a bit.

Because these seven days… could possibly be our whole summer.

In the meantime, enjoy our delicious holiday dessert.

The Recipe:

Berry Pie, adapted from Knead to Cook

1 recipe of Pate Brisee, (though you do not need to pre-bake it)

6 c of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (your choice of ratios – I used 1 c blueberries, 2 c raspberries, 3 c strawberries)

zest from one lemon

juice from one lemon

1/4 c of all-purpose flour

1/4 c of sugar

1/2 t of ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Gently mix all of the ingredients in a bowl together.  Avoid breaking the berries as best as you can.  Fill your pie crust.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes.  Then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 additional minutes.

Remove and let cool.  Then cut and serve.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

As you probably noticed, I used the Pate Brisee again.  As I told Hubs, I needed to prove I was the boss of that darn recipe (though I may have used some other, um, less appropriate words.)  Anyhow, this time it went very, very, smoothly.  And the berry part was a snap, too.  Seriously, this was so simple and quick to put together.

And when it came out, it looked and smelled like a dream.

Now, I want to let you know that it turned out a little tart – which I loved, but if you don’t, you can add a little more sugar if you need.  We served this treat up with a scoop of good ol’ vanilla ice cream.

And it was the perfect patriotic dessert.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

(Oh, and a quick side-rant about Facebook… I just want to let you know that I am still posting things on FB, but they are only allowing small amounts of my followers to see them.  For example, yesterday’s post was only shown to 28 people.  That’s 28 out of more than 800 of you out there.  If I want you all to see the posts, I get to pay them to do it.  And that’s paying them separately for each post.  So… I guess I’m going to encourage all of you out there who follow me on FB, to check back more frequently on the blog itself and/or sign up for email updates.  And I’m still brainstorming what else I can do.  Thank you all for reading – you all are the best!!)

(Boy, my short post got long quick.)

Apple, Gorgonzola, and Bacon Quiche

This was one of those recipes that I so could’ve given up on – at least once or twice – or eight times.

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

And the results were pretty darn good, if I say so myself.

So bear with me (and this recipe) if you decide to read through my post or try making this.  (Though many of you, I’m sure, would totally rock this from the start.)

The Recipe:

Apple, Gorgonzola, and Bacon Quiche, a hybrid of Hub’s and my recipe

1 recipe of Pate Brisee:

(2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 t salt

1 t sugar

1 stick sweet butter

4 T vegetable shortening

1 t lemon juice

about 1/4 c ice water

Place flour, salt, and sugar in bowl of food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Break/cut butter and shortening into 1 T cubes and add to flour.  Pulse until the consistency of coarse sand.  Add liquid a little at a time, pulsing in between, until dough begins to come together.  Pour onto clean surface and form into a disk.  Chill 1 hour or overnight.  Remove 1 hour prior to rolling.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line crust with parchment or foil (spraying with cooking spray first).  Prick bottom with fork.  Fill pie with weights or raw beans.  Place weighted pastry in oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove weights/lining and continue to cook until crust looks dry.)

5 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

2 red delicious apples, unpeeled and grated (quick tip: squeeze out as much of the extra apple juice from the pieces as possible so your quiche isn’t extra liquid-y)

5 oz gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into small chunks

1 1/4 c half n half

3 large eggs

Cover bottom of crust with a thin layer of bacon.  Top with layer of cheese and then layer of apples.  Add additional layers if needed.

Mix half n half with eggs and beat with fork until yolks are broken and incorporated.  Gently pour over crust, filling to the top.

Place on cookie sheet in oven and bake at 375 degrees for at least 45 minutes, until puffed up and not jiggly in the middle.  (A knife inserted into middle should not reveal any liquid.)

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

So, it all started out with the Pate Brisee.

I’d made this several times before, so I assumed it was going to be a breeze.  Until I got distracted when adding my ice water and accidentally poured in too much.  This made it a little sticky, but I just thought that maybe as it rested in the fridge, it would dry up a bit.

It didn’t.

Let’s just say when rolling it out on my lovely large counter-space using my brand new pastry roller, it stuck.

To everything.

And would not come off.

I thought about giving up (just for the day) and trying again tomorrow, but I decided instead to re-roll it into a ball, let it rest, and try again with a significant amount of flour-dusting on everything.  And hallelujah, it worked!

I placed it into my dish… and promptly realized I didn’t have any parchment paper or foil.

So, I improvised with a lightly greased (on the bottom) ceramic dish and some beans.  And that seemed to work pretty well.  Until I tried to remove it to cook the bottom of the crust.

And it stuck.

After much wrangling, using oven mitts and a little strength, I got it free with minimal damage.  I placed the crust back in the oven to finish baking, thinking all would be well.

And then the bottom of the crust puffed up like a little balloon.

(I was seriously getting frustrated at this point.)

I popped it with a fork, added a few more extra pokes of the tines, and placed it back in the oven until it finally looked dry.  Then I took it out to rest and started prepping and adding the filling.

This is what it looked like heading into the oven.

I cooked it about 40 minutes on convection and thought it looked done.

It wasn’t.  This picture was taken right before I cut out a slice that disintegrated all over my plate.  Sorry no pictures because at that point I was just too mad.

Anyways, I could’ve given up again… but I didn’t.  I placed my crust back in, scooped over the filling, covered the quiche with a pan lid (remember no foil), and put it back in to cook longer.

Finally, about 20 (yes 20) minutes later, it was finally done.

(At this point, Hubs had had to leave for his meeting, and I’d fed the boys since they were starving – and complaining – and all around driving me nutso.)

(Oh, and you get no pictures of the full final product.  Let’s just say it was not pretty.)

I cut myself a slice to enjoy alone… and enjoy it I did!

I’m going to admit here that I am not a fan of bleu cheeses.  At all.  Yet a mild and tangy gorgonzola, paired with a sweet red delicious apple and chewy salty bacon, over a crisp and buttery crust… Mmm-mmm-mmmmmm, it was good!

(Even all alone after a hugely frustrating experience.)

And when Hubs finally got home and had a slice, he couldn’t agree more.

So, if you’ve made it all the way through this story with me, you’ve probably got the patience to make this recipe.  And you’ve already know some of the pitfalls to avoid.

Crazily enough, I’m looking forward to making it again.

(Though probably not for a long while.)

Pumpkin Pie

I know, I know, I know.  Pumpkin Pie is so last week.

But this blog is not all about being on trend.  It’s about keeping track of my (mis)adventures.

And when I was getting ready to bake for Thanksgiving, I was prepared for the cupcakes to give me a run for my money (they didn’t) – and the pumpkin pie to be the easy one (it wasn’t).

So I thought I should share.

Pumpkin Pie, adapted slightly from Sweet and Crumby

1 (9-inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust (scroll down to Pate Brisee recipe)

3/4 c sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t ground nutmeg

3 eggs

1 (15-ounce) can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar through nutmeg.  In a large bowl beat together eggs and pumpkin puree.  Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin puree.  Slowly add the can of evaporated milk and combine thoroughly.

Pour into an unbaked pie shell and cover the edges with aluminum foil.   Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until pie filling is firm.

Cool completely before refrigerating.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I honestly thought this was going to be such an easy dish to make.  I even waited until the last-minute to make it (aka, 7:30 Thanksgiving Eve).  Not my best thinking…

Lessons Learned:

1.  I still have a problem making shapes.  This is supposed to be a circle.

2. A cake pan is not the same thing as a pie pan – thank goodness Hubs noticed before I added the filling.

And it looked so pretty, too.

3. You can, in fact, re-roll pie crust successfully – and shape-wise, second time’s a charm.  🙂

An actual circle, Yay!

4. Grinding cloves in a grinder can be dangerous to your eyes – if you decide to open it before the motor has stopped.

(Sorry no pictures of this lovely moment.)

5. You might want to make sure your filling is completely mixed before adding it to your crust.

I tried to swirl the unmixed stuff around, but then you could see the swirl.

6. Any fixes or mistakes you make, often become obvious when it is cooked.

7.  Pumpkin Pie needs to cool completely before refrigeration – that means you many not get to bed until well after 11 on Thanksgiving Eve – and still have to get up at 5:30 with your children.

8. Your mom might look at you funny when you ask Hubs for a little tutorial on how to make fresh whipped cream.  (I’d never made it before and definitely did not want to mess it up.)

9.  Thanksgiving dishes, clean-up, and dessert service may limit your ability to get any pictures of the finished pie.

I do have to admit, I did get rave reviews on the flavor – I just told everyone to close their eyes when eating.  Hubs, who is not a fan of pumpkin pie actually ate several pieces over the last couple of days.  And my youngest LOVED it – after every bite he’d say, “Tasty!” – a new word for him.

I thought it was pretty good.  It was definitely a lighter flavor than most I’ve had from the store.  And the crust turned out fine.  Really.  Overall, it was a good, all-around, traditional pumpkin pie, though obviously homemade.

I’m proud that I actually contributed to our Thanksgiving meal – a first for me.

(And I’ll work up to the turkey over the next couple years.  I hope.  No promises.)