Impossible Coconut Cream Pie

 

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Tomorrow is Pi Day, folks!

In case you are not aware of it, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14; so March 14th has earned the title Pi Day.  Since the date this year is March 14th, 2015, we have the first five digits of pi, 3.1415, an extra special day for celebrating.   And it’s so nice to have another food holiday (besides Thanksgiving) to celebrate each year.

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Of course, we love our pies for Thanksgiving, but most of us stick to the traditional ones–pumpkin, apple, pecan, etc.   I like Pi day because it gives me a reason to make a pie (#1), and because it gives me a chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet (#2).  As I do each year I browse through many pie recipes, mulling over the choices in my mind, considering both sweet and savory options.   This coconut cream pie just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t let me rest until I made it.  I don’t remember trying coconut cream pie before this.  Newsflash—-it’s fabulous.  Don’t be thrown by the name.  This pie is not impossible to make, just impossibly good!

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Naturally since this is my first attempt at coconut cream pie, I have no basis for comparison, but we do love this pie.  The coconut custard filling is silky smooth and luscious without being too rich.  A cap of freshly whipped cream on top makes almost any pie better, and this is no exception.  I decided to go the extra mile and toasted some coconut chips for a garnish—so fun and so pretty.  I just love the way it looks.

Will you be celebrating Pi Day with pie?  I’d like to know what flavors you all are making!

IMPOSSIBLE COCONUT CREAM PIE

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked ( your favorite recipe or a refrigerated pie crust)
  • 2 eggsIMG_9361
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup non-sweet coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.  Set aside.

2.  Flour a work surface and roll the pie crust out to fit your pie plate.  Carefully place the crust in the pie plate, flute the edges and refrigerate until ready to fill.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt , milk, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix well.  Fold in the coconut.  IMG_9362

Fold in the coconut.

Fold in the coconut.

4. Pour into the pie crust.

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Bake  at 350*F. for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are set.  The center may still be a bit jiggly.  It will become firm as it cools.  Allow to cool at room temperature about 2 hours, then refrigerate.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

5.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with some coconut flakes that have been lightly toasted.  You can easily do this when the pie is cooked and out of the oven. Leave the oven on and toast the coconut flakes for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not become too brown.

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Looking for more Pi day inspiration?  Be sure to check the Pie category—there are many more options to choose from.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe by Penzey’s Spices

 

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Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

 Perfect Rhubarb Pie

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

 

This is a recipe that was back in the archives, but is so darn good that I think it’s worth bring it back again.  I made the pie last weekend and took some new photos.  This is the best rhubarb pie I have ever had, for two reasons;  it’s not runny when you cut it, and the flavor is unique.  You must see for yourself.

Rosy, tart, beautiful rhubarb.

Rosy, tart, beautiful rhubarb.

Ah, rhubarb, sweet rhubarb!  (just kidding, of course)  I’ve never tasted anything so tart in my life, and yet I LOVE it.  I can’t let a spring  season go by without baking something with it.  The most  popular item I make is rhubarb pie–Mr. D’s favorite kind of pie; but I’ve also been known to make cobbler, rhubarb muffins and sweet bread.    Last weekend I made the can’t-wait-to taste-it rhubarb pie.  Try it served with a little vanilla ice-cream along side and you will hear angels singing.

I call this “perfect” rhubarb pie, because it just melts in your mouth.  I’ve discovered that adding some orange zest and nutmeg brings out the flavor of rhubarb, without going overboard in the sugar department. In my opinion, too much sugar just makes it taste sweet, and obscures the flavor of the rhubarb, which is what this pie is all about.

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We like it a little tart, so when I make it just for us, I use only 1 cup of sugar.  The recipe given here is for 1 1/2 cups which I feel is quite sweet,  but you can surely adjust the  sugar to suit your taste.   I use quick-cooking tapioca and flour as thickeners; and I also add an egg which helps bind the ingredients and  keep the pie from becoming overly juicy.  When baking, I place the pie on a small baking sheet such as a pizza pan in case it runs over, but really, with this recipe that never seems to happen.

PERFECT RHUBARB PIE

Yield:   Serves 8

Ingredients:

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

Perfect Rhubarb Pie

 

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Pie pastry for a 2-crust  9 inch pie.   You may want to use a refrigerated  pie crust from the grocery store, or prepare your favorite pastry recipe.

This is a pie pastry recipe that I have success with:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, tapioca, orange zest and nutmeg.  Stir in rhubarb; let mixture stand while you make the crust.

Prepare pastry:  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut shortening  into flour until pieces are the size of small peas.Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water  over part of the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork.  Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl.  Repeat using 1 tablespoon ice water at a time using the 7-8 tablespoons total, until all the dough is moistened.Gather dough up into a ball and divide in half.  Roll each half into a 11-12 inch circle, for bottom and top crusts.  Place one crust in a 9-inch pie dish.  Cut decorative slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape while baking.

         2.  Combine egg and water, mixing lightly with a fork.  Add to rhubarb mixture, and stir to combine.  Spoon into pastry-lined pie dish.  Dot with butter.

Add egg mixed with a little water to the sugared rhubarb.

Add egg mixed with a little water to the sugared rhubarb.

3.  Cover with top crust.  Trim crust and crimp edges.  Lightly brush top crust with a little milk or light cream, then sprinkle with coarse sugar for a nice browned top.

Brush top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar..

Brush top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar..

 

4.  Cover edges with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil from edges, and bake another 30 minutes, until browned and filling is bubbly.

No runny pie here!

No runny pie here!

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SOURCE:   Originally from a vintage cook book in my collection,  with modifications by yours truly .

Berry Smoothie Pie

Berry Smoothie Pie

Berry Smoothie Pie

Looking for a quick-to-make dessert for the weekend?  This one is it!

Smoothies are the “in” drink now-a-days.  They can contain just about any combination of ingredients that are compatible and taste good together.  All vegetables, all fruits, some yogurt, grains or seeds;  the possibilities are endless.   Most of us enjoy a smoothie because it’s cool and refreshing and if made with some thought to ingredients, can be quite nutritious.

One of my favorite kinds of smoothie is made with strawberries, yogurt and almond milk with an occasional banana added for thickness.  Today’s recipe for Berry Smoothie Pie grew out of my love of strawberry smoothies.  Wanting to capture all the luscious flavor of fresh strawberries, but without the added sugar, I started with strawberry sugar-free gelatin.  I dissolved it in cranberry juice, then added a small cup of strawberry blended Greek yogurt, and lots of sliced strawberries.  I blended this all in the blender and poured it into a cookie crumb pie crust;  let it chill until set, then served it with a dollop of low-fat whipped topping. I must say  this pie is “berry, berry good”.  It’s quick and easy to make, cuts cleanly, it’s cool and refreshing and tastes great.  What more can you ask of a summertime desert?

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BERRY SMOOTHIE PIEIMG_7603

Yield:  8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package sugar-free strawberry gelatin ( raspberry would be good, too)
  • 1/3 cup low-cal, low-sugar, cranberry juice
  • 3/4 cup ( 6-oz.) low-fat Greek yogurt ( strawberry or raspberry)
  • 3 cups chopped berries ( strawberries or raspberries)
  • 1  (9-inch) graham cracker or sugar cookie crust
  • Fat-free whipped topping

Directions:

1.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle gelatin over juice, let stand 1 minute.  Microwave on high 40 seconds.  Stir, and let stand 1 minute for gelatin to completely dissolve.

IMG_7604               2.  In a blender container, combine gelatin mixture, yogurt and berries. Process until blended and smooth.

 

Pour into crust and chill 4 hours.  Serve with whipped topping.IMG_7605

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOURCE:   This is a major revision of an old recipe from Taste of Home.

 

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

This is a very special and “showy” pie that is great for special occasions or holidays.     Today is a special occasion and I made it to celebrate.  This post is my 500th since starting this blog just about 2 years ago.  In that time I have published five posts/week and gained a following of over 300 readers worldwide.  My goal from the beginning, (and still is) is to share with you recipes that are nutritious, mindful of dietary restrictions and special diets, reasonably economical to make with readily available ingredients, and taste fabulous. Whether you are a new-comer in the kitchen, or an experienced cook, there’s always something to learn.  I pass along my trials and errors, my successes and failures, and encourage you to be adventurous with your cooking.   These are recipes that I am proud to serve and hopefully you will be proud to serve also.  By your responses to me, I think I must be succeeding.  So I am very happy to have all of you as my “community” of readers.  Thanks so much for finding this little blog and sticking with me.  Love Ya!!

With Easter just ahead, this pie would make a nice addition to the dessert table.  Besides being so pretty, its also a very luscious pie with two kinds of chocolate and cherries in a creamy white chocolate mousse.  It’s sweet, yet very light.  This is one dessert that will definitely disappear into the crowd…in a good way.

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The surprise, once the pie has been cut, is the layer of dark chocolate that lies between the crust and the light airy filling.   This really makes the pie interesting and the dark chocolate is a nice foil for the white, light filling.  I liked putting some grated dark chocolate on top with the cherry garnish to give a hint of what’s waiting inside.

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Ways to reduce the caloric impact of this pie would be to use low-fat condensed milk, low-fat cream cheese, and sugar-free instant pudding.  I’m not sure if white chocolate pudding mix is available sugar-free, but vanilla flavor certainly is, and makes a good substitute.  In place of whipped cream you could also use “light” whipped topping. Be sure to include the almond flavoring… it somehow adds to the whole taste experience.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY MOUSSE PIE

Yield:    8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, blind baked.  You may use a frozen pie shell or your own favorite pie dough recipe.  Bake the shell until lightly browned and cooked through.  It will not be cooked again.IMG_6892
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 square (1 ounce) or 1 packet pre melted unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, divided
  • 1 jar (10-ounces) maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened.   Low-fat is OK, but not fat-free.
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 package ( 3.4 ounces) instant white chocolate pudding mix (I used Hershey’s brand).  If unable to find, substitute vanilla instant pudding mix.
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • chopped chocolate or chocolate curls, optional

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, over low heat, cook and stir 1/2 cup condensed milk and chocolate until the chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mixture gets quite thick, like fudge.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Pour into pie shell and set aside.

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2.  Reserve 8 whole cherries for garnish.  Chop the remaining cherries and set aside.

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3.  In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light.  Gradually beat in water and remaining milk.  Add pudding mix and remaining extract; mix well.

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4.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Stir in chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Pour over chocolate layer in the pie crust.  Chill 4 hours or until set.  Garnish with whole cherries and chocolate curls before serving.

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It's like eating a cloud!!

It’s like eating a cloud!!

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SOURCE:    Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie

I’m taking a break from bacon and eggs because the date today is 3-14, people, and you know what that means—-it’s Pi day!  A food holiday that it’s a pleasure to celebrate.  Of course, it’s not the only day that most of us make pie,  think of Thanksgiving.  But those pies tend to be the traditional classics like pumpkin, apple, pecan, etc.   I like Pi day because it gives me the chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet.  What could be more fun?  The date on the calendar gives me the prefect excuse to play around and make a pie.

Oh, you are going to love this pie!

Oh, you are going to love this pie!

I mulled over the wide choice of possibilities, considering both sweet and savory options.  Sweet won out this time so here is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie, and believe it or not, it’s fabulous.

Never having made it before I had no point of comparison, but we loved this pie.  Basically I made a chocolate chip cookie dough, scooped it into a pie shell and baked the whole thing.  At serving time, a dollop of cream on top will take it the extra mile.  I just love the way this came out.  Are you celebrating Pi day with pie?  I’d love to know what flavors you all are making!

This is a fabulous pie!

This is a fabulous pie!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH PIE

Yield:    serves 8

Ingredients:

I preferred using mini chocolate chips in this pie.

I preferred using mini chocolate chips in this pie.

  • 1   9-inch regular or deep-dish pie shell, unbaked.  Use your favorite recipe or a frozen pie shell.
  • 1/2  cup flour
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter (1-stick), melted and cooled to warm
  • 1 cup regular or quick oats ( or 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup chopped nuts)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Directions:

1.   Preheat oven to 350*F  In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix.

Add eggs to flour and sugar and mix well.

Add eggs to flour and sugar and mix well.

Add the butter and mix again.

2.  Fold in the oatmeal and nuts, if using, chocolate chips, and vanilla.

Fold in the oatmeal, and chocolate chips.

Fold in the oatmeal, and chocolate chips.

Pour into the pie crust.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

3.  Bake at 350*F.  for about 30 – 35 minutes, until golden.

Smells like a chocolate chip cookie. I wonder why!

Smells like a chocolate chip cookie. I wonder why!

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Oooey, gooey, and chewy.  :D

Oooey, gooey, and chewy. 😀

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Apple Sour Cream Pie with Gjetost Cheese

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Norwegian Gjetost Cheese.

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Norwegian Gjetost Cheese.

Making apple pie this way was a first for me.  The first time I made the crust this way, the first time I put sour cream in the filling with the apples and definitely a first time using Norwegian Gjetost (pronounced “yay-toast”) cheese.  It was a wonderful addition to apple pie.

Gjetost is made from a combination of both cow and goat’s milk and has a fudge-like consistency and nutty, caramel flavor. It develops its distinctive color and flavor because the milk sugars are caramelized during the cheese-making process.  The cheese is slightly sweet and nutty and has a smooth texture.  I used a brand called Ski Queen gjetost, that I found at my local Whole Foods, but there are other brands available, often found at Scandinavian markets.  Gjetost generally comes in an 8-ounce block.  It is delicious when brought to room temperature, sliced and served with flatbreads or other crackers and fruit.

Gjetost cheese, packaged in an 8-ounce block.

Gjetost cheese, packaged in an 8-ounce block.

The filling also calls for a little sour cream, which adds a creamy balance to the gjetost.  This is a very easy pie to make; the crust is a no-roll variety and the quick streusel topping is made with crunchy flake cereal.  The crust is an adaptation of a recipe called Pat-A-Pan Piecrust from the Amish Cook’s Baking Book by Lovinia Eicher with Kevin Williams.

This pie was one of my offerings at the Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law’s house. It was the only homemade pie there, and it disappeared so fast I didn’t get a picture of it sliced, nor did I even get a piece to eat.  My husband and the others who had some all declared it “delicious, creamy, different, but good. and other such phrases.  I guess I’ll have to take their word for it.  I know that it looked great and smelled fantastic while it was baking.  Since I still have about half the cheese left, I will most likely make it again–this time just for us!

SOUR CREAM APPLE PIE WITH NORWEGIAN GJETOST

Yield:   Makes 1  9-inch pie,  8  servings

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp. cold milk

For the filling:

Apples and other filling ingredients.

Apples and other filling ingredients.

  • 6 cups sliced apples
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom*
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 ounces gjetost cheese, grated**

*  If you don’t keep cardamom on hand you can replace it with pumpkin pie spice or just extra cinnamon.

**  If you can’t find the gjetost, omit it and replace half of the sugar in the filling ( 1/4 cup) with light brown sugar and add an extra 1/2 tablespoon flour.

For the streusel topping:

Crumble topping ingredients.

Crumble topping ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes ( or other unsweetened flake cereal)
  • 1/4 cu flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preparation:

Crust:   Combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and milk until creamy and well blended.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork to form a moist dough.  Place in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and flatten with you hand.  Using your fingers, gently push the crust to the edge and up the sides of the pie plate, taking care to make it as even as possible.  Prick the bottom and sides with the times of a fork, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before filling and baking.

Crust is shaped to the pan with your fingers.

Crust is shaped to the pan with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 425*F.

Filling:  Blend the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and flour together in a large bowl.  Add the apples and toss to coat well.  Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with about 1/3 of the grated gjetost.

Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese in the bottom of crust.

Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese in the bottom of crust.

Add about 1/2 of the apple mixture and spread evenly.  Top with another 1/3 of the cheese, leaving the remaining 1/3 for the last 2 minutes of baking.

Add 1/2 the apple filling and another 1/3 of cheese.

Add 1/2 the apple filling and another 1/3 of cheese.

Top with the remaining apples.  Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, shielding the edges of the crust with foil as soon as they turn golden brown.

Add remaining apple filling.

Add remaining apple filling.

Streusel topping:  While the pie is baking, combine the crushed cornflakes, flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and melted butter in a small bowl.  Remove the pie after the first 25 minutes and spread the topping over the top as evenly as possible.

After baking for 25 minutes,.

After baking for 25 minutes,.

Sprinkle on topping and continue baking.

Sprinkle on topping and continue baking.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling and golden brown and the apples are tender.  Immediately sprinkle on the remaining cheese and place the pie back in the oven for a minute or two until it melts.  remove and cool on a rack to room temperature.

Looks and smells fantastic.

Looks and smells fantastic.

I baked the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and  I’m glad I did as it did run over.  It firmed up as it cooled and kept its shape when cut into wedges.   I have got to make this again.   😀

SOURCE:   My Gourmet Connection

Swedish Apple Pie

Swedish Apple Pie

Swedish Apple Pie

This past weekend I made some time for a fall activity I particularly enjoy–apple picking.  Many of the nearby orchards offer “pick-your-own” and it’s become somewhat of a tradition.  There’s something so satisfying about going into the orchard, and plucking those rosy, beautiful apples right off the tree and into your basket.  My problem is that I don’t seem to know when to stop.  I plan to pick a few, primarily for eating, ( lunches, ect.), and to bake a pie, or other dessert,  but somehow when I get home I have way more than I planned on.  Fortunately my unheated sunroom turns into “cold storage” room during cold weather, so apples keep quite well out there.

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Apple Pie is always on the agenda of what to make with the apples.  But this recipe, though called Apple Pie,  is out of the ordinary in that there is no bottom crust, and what looks like a crust on top is more like a big sugar cookie.  This recipe is one that I tend to forget about until something reminds me of it.  It originally came to my attention when it was included in a cookbook put together by the ladies of my church several years ago.  I really don’t know its history, or why its called “Swedish Apple Pie”, but being half Swedish myself I decided to claim it, make it and share it with you. If anyone out there knows its history please let me know.IMG_5547

Any firm, tart apple can be used, so that the acidity stands up to the rich batter.  The orchard I visited had Macouns and Cortlands available for picking, and I got some of each.  I used three Cortlands for this pie, but I really don’t think it matters what kind of apple you use.  You really can’t go wrong with apple pie.IMG_5548

Swedish Apple Pie is very easy to make.  Basically you slice the apples into a pie dish, sprinkle them with a sugar-cinnamon mixture, mix up the batter and spread it over the apples.  Bake till nice and brown.  The crust is very much like a sweet, chewy cookie,  somewhat like an apple crisp, but not quite.  Start to finish it takes about an hour to make, and soon after that you’ll be spooning up a warm apple dessert that is particularly good served with a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese, another New England tradition not to miss.  It is also very nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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SWEDISH APPLE PIE

Servings:   6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, or 4 medium firm-tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons plus  2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9 – inch pie plate.

2.  Place the sliced apples into the pie plate, arranging them to fit.  The pie plate will be nearly full.

3.  In a small bowl, mix together the 1 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the apples.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the apples in a pie dish.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the apples in a pie dish.

4.  In a large bowl,  whisk together the 1 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the beaten egg, and melted butter. Stir just to mix well.  Spoon over the apples and spread to cover as well as possible.  I just “plop” it all over the top, and then with a spatula spread it out as much as possible.  It may not cover completely.

"Plop" spoonfuls of dough over the apples.

“Plop” spoonfuls of dough over the apples.

Spread dough out to cover apples as much as you can.

Spread dough out to cover apples as much as you can.

5.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Bake till brown on top.

Bake till golden brown on top.

Serve with a wedge of cheddar cheese or a scoop of ice cream.

Serve with a wedge of cheddar cheese or a scoop of ice cream.

SOURCE:   First Church cookbook:  “Home Cooking”

Keeping it Cool!

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

The heat wave in the East continues.  This is day #7, with at least one more day of it before some promised cooler weather makes its way here sometime over the weekend.  The electric company is asking us to limit power usage during peak times, so I’m not using the stove or oven, and it’s too darn hot to stand outside over the grill cooking.  What’s my solution to preparing meals?

Well, since the refrigerator can’t be turned off, I am making use of it to the max and we are eating cold foods.  Today, I went to the super market early in the morning to get some necessary items for my menu.  You know, I actually Shivered while shopping in the frozen foods isle.  Yikes, almost didn’t recognize what was happening!   When I got home I did a little preliminary cooking (morning is not peak time for power usage.), so that I could put together a cold salad plate for dinner.  It turned into a Salad Niçoise, but I’ll save that for another day.

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Two foods that always suggest coolness to me are watermelon and cucumbers.  Having purchased some of each of those foods, I was  led  to create a salad combining both of them.  Chilled watermelon and chunks of cucumber tossed with feta cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic dressing.  I love that salty-sweet-tangy thing going on.  It is guaranteed to keep you cool as a cucumber when the temperature outside will have you melting.  I could be happy eating just this for lunch;  it is so refreshing and cool.

The second item I made using watermelon was Creamy Watermelon Pie.  A pie so refreshing that it never lasts long on a hot summer day.  Using just a few convenience foods, you can make it in a flash, then sit back and wait for it to thicken.  Dee-lightful!

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CHILLED WATERMELON, CUCUMBER AND FETA SALAD

Yield:   Servings,  4IMG_4632

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chilled seedless watermelon, diced large
  • 1 medium chilled seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh mint – or basil- thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl, place the watermelon and cucumbers.  Top with feta and mint or basil.   When ready to serve, drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette, and toss to combine.

IMG_4633

SOURCE:   adapted from  Skinny Taste.com

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IMG_4619

CREAMY WATERMELON PIE

Yield:  6 – 8 servings

Ingredients:IMG_4608

  • 1 package  (3 ounces) watermelon flavor gelatin  (I used Jolly Rancher Brand)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1  ( 9-inch) graham cracker (or other) pie crust.  (I always use Shortbread Cookie Crust)

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile cut up watermelon into small cubes. Whisk the whipped topping into the gelatin; then fold in the watermelon.  Spoon into the crust.  Refrigerate for 2 hours until set.  Yield 6 – 8 servings

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Such a pretty pink.

Such a pretty pink.

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SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Cranberry-Pear Pie

Pear Still Life

Today I’d like to speak on behalf of the pear.  I don’t think that pears get the attention they deserve.  The apple, on the other hand, gets all kinds of attention.  It’s as American as well, apple pie!  Eaten out of hand, baked into cakes, pies, squares, covered with caramel on a stick—I could go on and on.  But how about the pear?  Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a pear pie.  Right!  I thought not. So today I want to introduce you to a wonderful treat–a cranberry pear pie with a streusel crumb topping.

Cranberry Pear Pie with Streusel Topping

This is the time of year when pears are plentiful and there are many different kinds of pears.  The ones we are most familiar with are probably the Bartlett, the Anjou, and the Bosc. Each has its own characteristics, but one thing they all have in common is a juicy sweetness when they are ripe.  Most pears are not strong flavored so they pair well with other fruits and seasonings that bring out their flavor, like cranberries, ginger, nutmeg, and orange.  This pie incorporates three out of those four.  It has fresh cranberries, cooked with orange zest and ginger, which is then mixed with the fresh pears, and piled into a flaky pie crust.  Then it’s topped with a streusel that combines oatmeal with brown sugar, orange juice, more ginger and cinnamon.  There’s not much more I can say in praise of this pie except try it and find out how good it is for yourself!

CRANBERRY PEAR PIE WITH STREUSEL TOPPING

Source:   Cooking Light, 2009

Servings:  about 10

FOR THE PIE

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cranberries ( can be fresh or dried)
  • 1 ( 1-inch ) piece peeled fresh ginger cut into thin slices.
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 peeled pears, cored and sliced about 1/4″ thick  (Anjou or Bosc pears work best as they are firm)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • cooking spray

FOR THE STREUSEL

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Position oven rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To Prepare pie:

1.  In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar.  Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil;  add cranberries, ginger slices, and orange rind.  Return to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Remove from heat.  Discard ginger slices.  Cool.

Cook cranberries with sugar and ginger.

2.  Combine lemon juice and sliced pears in a large bowl; toss.  Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Add to pears; toss to coat.  Stir in cranberry mixture.

3.  Fit refrigerated pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Fold edges under; flute.  Spoon pear mixture into prepared crust.

Pile seasoned pear filling in the pie shell.

To prepare Streusel:

1.  Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave.  Add the orange juice and stir to mix.  Measure flour and add along with oats, and remaining ingredients;  toss.

2.  Sprinkle oat mixture over pear filling.

Sprinkle oatmeal crumb topping on pie filling.

Cover pie loosely with foil, place on a baking sheet.  Bake covered in the lower third of oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Uncover; bake another 15 minutes or until nicely browned.  Cool on a rack 1 hour before serving.

Additional notes:  raisins would be a good addition if cranberries are not available.  Also you could vary the fruit and use apples instead with equally good ( and tasty) results.

A reeeealy good pie!

No-Bake Fresh Strawberry Pie

In the area where I live many of the farms are still picking  strawberries, since the days have been very warm and sunny.  I didn’t want to miss out on having some native strawberries, but I also didn’t want to use my oven unless really necessary.  This recipe for a no-bake version of strawberry pie caught my attention for those reasons.  The combination of juicy spring berries piled atop a layer of creamy filling in a chocolate crust.  What’s not to like here?

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ready-made chocolate crumb  9 inch pie crust (such as Oreo)
  • 6 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed  (I used fat-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry-flavored liqueur (I use my own homemade liqueur, but Chambord is one you can purchase)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in half, or pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place pie crust in the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
  2. Place cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.  Carefully spread over bottom of crust.
  4. Place strawberry jam in a large microwave safe bowl;  microwave at HIGH 10 seconds or until softened .  Add liqueur and lemon juice;  stir with a whisk until smooth.  Add the berries; toss to coat the berries with the jam mixture.
  5. Arrange berries over the filling.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Cut into wedges;  serves  8
   

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from  Cooking Light Magazine,  May, 2012