Cherry Pie

July 14, 2014

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Another pie, this is the 3rd in 3 weeks!  I know, I have went on and on, in the past, about how I hated making pies.  Since then I have learned how to make a good crust, that seems to work out every time!  Everyone else in my family loves pie so they are always eager to try something new.

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This time I wanted to make a cherry pie.  The cherries are amazing this year and I figured I would give it a try.  After buying and extra basket of cherries everyone told me, ‘you can’t make cherry pie with those cherries!’ What?!?! To me a cherry is a cherry, beyond the fresh ones at the market and the maraschino ones you get in the jar I really didn’t know there were more.  Apparently there are.  Rumor is that you can ONLY make a pie with sour cherries.  At this point I am a little flustered as I have no idea what I am going to do with all of these cherries!

When I got home I take to the web in search of some baking answers, “can you make a pie with sweet cherries?”  YES, YES you can!!! There were tones of recipes out there, also tones for the sour cherries.  I’ll show them!….I hope….

This one I did follow a recipe, with so many people rooting against me I figure I better follow something!

Sweet Cherry Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sweet cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3  cup caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoons cream
Your favourite pie dough

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF

2. I never know how much fruit to use and many of my pie dishes are different sizes.  This is how I measure how many cherries to use.  This many!

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3. Thoroughly wash and dry cherries

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4. Using your favourite pie dough, roll out and prepare your crust (I forgot to get a picture of this step)

5. Stem and pit the cherries.  This was something I had never done before.  When I eat cherries I always just spit them in a cup (classy I know).  As there were so many of them I looked up different ways of going about it.  I was quite surprised to learn there is an actual cherry pitter! It’s quite the tool. As a gadget freak like myself I may look into it.  I settled on these 3, a knife, a piping tip and an orange peeler.  They made it look so easy.

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The piping tip seemed like the best option to me, made total sense.

Using a very small tip (I used #2) place tip up and insert into stem hole

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Press down until pit pops out the top…..Not quite! I felt the tip slip off

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Tried a bigger one #5

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Not much better

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On to Plan B – the end of an orange peeler.  Just dig it out

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It worked, but was very time consuming and messy

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Plan C – My idea, a knife.  I treated it like an avocado.

Slice around the edges

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Twist and pull apart

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Pick out the pit

Prefect!

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I thought I would be an hour doing this – with this method – max 15 minutes

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6. In a large bowl combine cherries, almond extract, lemon, salt, sugar and corn starch

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7. Pour into your prepared pie shell

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8. Create a vented top, lattice or other

9. Lightly beat egg and cream. Bush over the crust

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10. Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350ºF continue baking until golden brown and centre is bubbling.

It’s far from pretty

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11. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.  I am praying that the pie has set and I don’t end up with cherry soup!

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YAAAY!  No soup!

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Look at that!

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I would like to say YES you can make a pie with sweet cherries!  This pie was delicious!  I’ll be honest, I have nothing to compare it to because I have never had cherry pie but I can’t imagine it any better.

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The crust was rich and flaky and the filling was delightful.  Even though they were sweet cherries there was still quite a bit of tang, but not too much it was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  The pie set perfectly, a slight run but not soupy.

I think I am getting the hang of this pie thing.  I may, and that is a big may be converted to a pie person.  I ate the entire piece!

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Squished Potatoes

July 12, 2014

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Hold on to your hats! This is not a desserts! It is a rare occasion that I post something that is not sweet, but in my defense my Mom made them.

I have seen photos of potatoes like these everywhere, Pinterest, Food Blogs, magazines, etc.  They looked delicious and easy, and in order for me to cook something it has to be easy or I don’t want it.  Weird, as I wold spend an entire day in the kitchen baking something…

The ‘new’ potatoes are starting to arrive on the market, you know the little wee ones with tones of dirt still on them.  My Mom, who is a big of a potato freak, gets very excited when they first arrive.  I was invited to my parents for dinner last week and when she said we were having little new potatoes I told her about this idea.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love a good potato, but boiled potatoes are just boring!  Much to my surprise Mom loved the idea and we made a batch for dinner.  She was much less thrilled when I announced I would be taking pictures for a post, haha.  It slows things down and I make her stop and wait till i get the right picture.

I never read any of the recipes, just looked at the pictures, so we made this up as we went along.  I called them Smashed Potatoes.

Smashed Potatoes

very small potatoes, preferably new
toppings of your choice! We used bacon and Cheese

1. Wash your potatoes ensuring all dirt is removed

2. Boil potatoes until just cooked, don’t over cook

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3. Drain potatoes and place on a baking sheet

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4. With a potato masher, squish each potato to desired thickness

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5. Top with toppings of your choice.  The possibilities are endless! We used bacon and cheese.  You could use onions, BBQ sauces, spices, herbs, butters, different cheeses, WHAT EVER!

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6. Bake in oven or broil until cheese is melted, or your toppings are done.

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These were delicious!  It was like a cross between a potato skin and a loaded baked potato.  I can’t wait to make them again!

 


Scones

July 9, 2014

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Sometimes I need someone to remind me that more is not always better.   Usually when I make something I go for rich, decadent, ooey and gooey and over the top.  When my Mom asked me to make her scones I immediately asked “What kind?” With every attempt to persuade her into a flavoured scone, she still wanted plain!  Ok, Ok!  We all love the scones I have made in the past so I stuck with the recipe, I just omitted all the extras.

Scones

Adapted from

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa, Episode: Big Breakfast, from Food Network

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 extra-large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or water, for egg wash

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Combine 4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and salt  in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

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3.Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

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4. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture.

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5. Combine until just blended. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined.

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6. Flour your hands and separate into 3 discs (usually I do 2 discs, but I get complaints that they are too big!) and cut into triangles

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7. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment

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8.  Brush with egg wash and bake 20-30 minutes or until the edges are golden and the centres are done.

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These were delicious!  I will admit, as much as I love having extras in my scones these were fantastic.  They were, dare I say, so flavourful! I could taste the buttery goodness.  The texture was amazing, a little lighter than the flavoured ones.

I usually don’t put anything on my scones, I like to enjoy the flavour that they are, but because these were plain I thought I would give it a try.

Butter – was a little too much as there is already 3/4 of a pound in the recipe!

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Jam – too sweet

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Honey – not a fan

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I still prefer to eat them plain and enjoy their natural flavour.  Thank you Mom for bringing me back to the basics.  I will be making these again!


Strawberry Pie

July 9, 2014

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It is a wonderful time of year here in Ontario, all of the fresh local fruit is hitting the farmers markets.  Due to the very long winter we had this year, the crops are a little later than usual.  I was quite pleased with this years strawberries, they were delicious!

With my new found talent of making pie crust I thought I would give Strawberry Pie a whirl.  I had never made one before, so why not, eh.

Having never made a strawberry pie I took to the web to look for a recipe.  After reading about 80 (quite literally) recipes and debates over how to thicken the pie, which I might add some people have very strong feelings about, I decided to just wing it.

 

My Strawberry Pie

Strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp, heaped corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg white
Your favourite pie dough

Directions:

1. I had no idea how many strawberries to use, so I used this many.  Just heaped the pie plate.

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2. Hull, wash and slice strawberries

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3. In a large bowl coat strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar.  Toss to make sure each berry is coated.

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4. Transfer to a sieve, for about a half hour, and allow some of the natural juices to drain – this makes for a less soupy pie

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5. Return berries to the large bowl, combine, corn starch, salt and castor sugar – stir well to coat berries

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6. Dump into your prepared pie dish

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7. Be creative and add a vented top to your pie.  I make them different every time.  Brush edges with egg whites to seal the crust.  Brush top crust and sprinkle with sugar, optional

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8.  Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes.  Lower temperature to 350ºF for approximately 35 minutes or until crust is golden to your desired ‘doneness’

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Looks delicious!  This pie was for dessert when my grandparents came for dinner.  I was a bit nervous as I had never made one of these before and my Gramma used to make quite a few pies.  Poppa is a bit of a pie connoisseur, he loves his pie, so this one had some high standards to live up to.  I actually made a second dessert as back up in case this was a flop!

No flop here! This pie was as delicious as it looked.  Crust was perfectly flaky and tender.  The strawberry filling was great, it had a perfect consistency (according to Gramma).  Gramma said it was like the pies her Mom used to make, :) Poppa said it was delicious and took the rest home.  I thought it was good. I am not a huge pie fan, or fruit in my dessert, but I ate a small piece so must have been good.   We were so into it, I forgot to take a picture after it was sliced!


Raisin Pie, Again

July 9, 2014

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I have not posted in quite some time, not because I have not been baking but because I was without my laptop!  Man, that was rough!  It is amazing how much I rely on this thing.  Anyways, all back up and running and excited to post what I have made.

We have been experiencing some ridiculously hot weather of late, 35ºC+ and I do not have air conditioning, makes for a hot house when baking.  Luckily it cooled down for a few days and I was able to make a few treats.

I asked my Poppa what he would like and he requested his favourite (and mine), raisin pie.  As mentioned in the initial Raisin Pie post, the recipe is secret, but I tried something new with the crust so I posted again.

Now that I am good at making crust I don’t mind making pies at all, in fact it is kind of fun, it is a whole new world for me.

As nice as it looks I strongly dislike doing a lattice top on my pie.  Cutting all the strips the same, weaving and lining up…blah.  In an attempt to make it look nice and still have the ventilation needed I used a cookie cutter and just placed the dough randomly on top.  I made it close to Canada day so I went with the Maple Leaf.

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I also made a few tarts.  I wanted some of the pie, but hate giving away a pie with a few pieces out of it, just looks tacky, haha.  This seemed like a good solution.

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I love how it still bubbles right out of the oven

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Looks pretty good

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Tarts came out pretty good as well

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Filling was perfect

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Oh my goodness these were delicious!  The crust was bang on, tender and flaky.

Looking forward to the fresh fruit season, the pie possibilities are endless!!!


Butter Tart Tour – Cravings Bakery and Market

July 9, 2014

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Stop # 17 on the Butter Tart Tour brought me to Cravings Bakery and Market, in Peterborough.  Cravings recently relocated to the north end of town.  I had been to their first location downtown, which was more of a bakery/cafe.  Their new location appears to be more of a local market with local produce, meets and dairies.  It was a nice little store but I was disappointed to see that the tarts were all ready prepackaged in groups of 2 or 6.

Sorry about the picture,
Mom had a bite in the car before I got the picture, haha

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The Tart

First Impressions – looks delicious, crust had a nice colour

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The Verdict

- crust was tough and a little undercooked
– not very sweet
– not much filling
– filling tasted very corn syrupy
– 4/10

I was not a fan of these tarts.  Not to say others wouldn’t like them, just not what I look for in a butter tart.


Ontario’s Butter Tart Festivial

June 16, 2014

No surprise here, Doo Doo’s wins the Ontario Butter Tart Festival in Midland this past weekend!!!

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Previous post about how good Doo Doo’s Tarts are…

Butter Tart Tour

Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

Kawartha Northumberland Butter Tart Taste Off

Maple Bacon Butter Tarts…Again!

Congratulations Doo Doo’s!!!!

I think this will be adding this Tart Festival to my Bucket List!


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