Posts Tagged ‘pie’
I love to make pies! This one was an experiment about a month before Thanksgiving. It’s an apple pie sweetened with a combination of white chocolate and quince jelly and it tasted fine.
More than 12 days ago, I took on a seven-photos-in-seven-days challenge, put up a post about it, and faded. Recovering from major surgery hasn’t been all that hard, but I have slept a lot more than I usually do. Unfortunately, whenever I try to focus on writing, I suddenly get drowsy. When I wake up an hour or three later, the muse has left me… or there’s some other thing to do.
It took me 12 days to review my photos from 2015. I selected way more than I can use in three “seven-photos” challenges… and I’m packing six of them into this blog post.
Some of these photos are favorites because they call back good times, others because they capture stuff I’ve published in the local newspaper but haven’t been able to share with my social networks.
Two Japanese students lived with us for nearly three weeks in 2015. The visit included an evening at a county fair, hiking on a gorgeous nature trail, a day trip into New York City, and many home-cooked meals. One evening I gave pie-making lessons and our Japanese daughters assembled a delicious peach and blueberry pie.
Indian cuisine is one of my favorites, and the nearest Indian restaurant is about an hour’s drive. To compensate, I’ve learned some basics and have settled on certain standard dishes—but I also experiment, trying to produce passable versions of a few challenging dishes. Paneer (a cheese that doesn’t melt) is a key ingredient in some of those dishes, and when I can find it in stores, it’s ridiculously expensive. So, I make my own. This block drained for several hours under the weight of a heavy pot of water. It’s ready to be cut up into cubes and gently fried in oil before being added to a spinach-based curried gravy.
A friend who had recently become vegetarian was coming to dinner and I didn’t have a plan. Shopping inspired me to make yeast bread and curried sweet potato soup. I could have added more liquid to the soup, but it was rich and delicious and I featured it in an article I wrote for our local newspaper. Curried squash and curried sweet potato soups are among my favorite meals.
Apparently, in early September I intended to publish something about homemade tomato sauce—for pasta or pizza. I posed some ingredients and captured photos, but things didn’t progress beyond that. The upshot: this representation of garden-fresh ingredients I’d use to flavor a skillet of pasta.
This stretches the “food” theme a tad, but it captures one of my favorite food experiences of all: the annual sour cherry harvest. Sour cherries have a dramatically more intense cherry flavor than that of sweet cherries and they’re crucial for making jams, jellies, preserves, and baked goods that involve cherries. Most people aren’t at all familiar with sour cherries. There’s a grower near us that opens its orchard for “you-pick” customers a few days before harvesting what’s left for commercial buyers and I love going with my wife (picking here in her sour cherry camouflage) to strip handfuls of fruit from the heavily-laden branches.
Let’s start with “Post Produce.” Inspired by Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, Your Small Kitchen Garden blog sponsors Post Produce on the 22nd of every month. I encourage bloggers everywhere to tell the world what they’re consuming from their kitchen gardens. Do you have fresh produce? Are you using preserves?
Post your Produce and then return here and link to your blog so other Post Produce participants can see. I hope you’ll join me this month. (Here’s more about Post Produce.)
And My Produce Is…
This isn’t all the squash I’ve harvested, and there’s still more in the garden. Notice the two rather small squashes on the left side of the stack. One of those cooked down into exactly a cup of mashed squash that went into a pear and pumpkin pie.
For this, the second ever Post Produce, I present pumpkin! Well… it’s actually butternut squash, but I use winter squashes and pumpkins interchangeably in my baking. I have quite a heap of butternut squashes and neck pumpkins, and there are still four decent-looking but very small blue hubbard squashes on the vines.
But the story actually begins with pears. Pears have teased me for more than a decade as I’ve experimented to find compelling ways to incorporate them into baked goods. I’ve learned that concentrating pear juice by boiling away a lot of water barely intensifies the flavor, and by the time even very thick pear syrup combines within cake or bread, it might just as well have been raw sugar.
I’ve also made many custards that contained pear juice, but they’ve all tasted pretty much like regular old custard. In fact, this year I thought I’d finished with my whole “baking with pears” period. And then it struck me: I’ve had pumple pie a few times, and was always unimpressed (pumple is pumpkin pie with embedded apple chunks). But it seemed to me that combining pears with pumpkin would result in a much more compelling pie filling.
Ready for pie? Pears and raisins add texture and visual appeal to a slice of pumpkin pie. Please let me know what you think if you bake one of these beauties.
Experimenting with Pears and Pumpkin
I’ve made a few pear and pumpkin pies in the past few weeks. The first was poached pears baked into pumpkin custard, and it was fine. However, I felt it could use a bit more texture, so I made another that included homemade raisins. Along with texture, these provide flavor bursts that make the pie complex and unique.
I hope you’ll try my pear and pumpkin pie. If you do, please let me know what you think of it. I’ll be serving this at Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably bake a few others as long as there are fresh pears available at the local farmers’ market.
I put the recipe for pear and pumpkin pie on another page so it wouldn’t slow the loading of my blog. It contains a list of ingredients along with step-by-step instructions and many photos. Find them on the page titled Cooking Pear and Pumpkin Pie from Your Small Kitchen Garden.
Now You Post Produce!
Show off your garden produce in your blog. Then, return here and create a link to your Post Produce post. After you link, leave a comment so other participants can find you!
My entry in October’s Post Produce is about pie. The pie involves pears and homemade raisins–both visible in this photo. I hope you’ll join me and bloggers everywhere on Saturday, the 22nd to share whatever you’re consuming from your own garden.
My small kitchen garden still has a few winter squashes, green beans, peppers, and carrots holding on against interminable rain and increasing cold. There’s not much out there, so I’ve put more and more attention on what’s available at the local farmers’ markets. Recently, I bought several pounds of seedless grapes and used my dehydrator to convert them into raisins. I posted about the procedure over at Food Dryer Home. Have a look if you need encouragement to make your own raisins. Please trust me: homemade raisins are so worth the trouble to make them.
What Pie has to do With It
I made raisins because I’ve been developing a recipe—a pie recipe rooted in about seven years of experimentation with pears. The recipe uses stuff from my small kitchen garden, and I plan to present it presently in my pending Post Produce post.
Post Produce? Pear Pie? All will become clear before I go to bed on Friday, October 21 (tomorrow).
Join Post Produce!
Saturday the 22nd is Post Produce day. The idea of Post Produce is to encourage bloggers everywhere to share with the world whatever they’re consuming from their gardens. Are you harvesting citrus fruit? Post about it! Are you opening home-canned produce for dinner? Post about it! Do you have awesome vegetables fresh from the garden? Post!
Follow this link to find more details at the Post Produce page. On Saturday, show or tell us about your produce, and then return to Your Small Kitchen Garden, and create a link back to your post. If you’re so inclined, visit all the Post Produce posts to see what bloggers are growing to eat all over the world.
Two distinct flavors cook together into a sweet, tart, sticky filling for a classic, uniquely American dessert: strawberry-rhubarb pie. The three vidoes in this post explain how you can make your own.
In hardiness zone 5, rhubarb is among the first spring crops a small kitchen garden might produce. With that crop alone, you can make curiously sweet and tart pies that would please most diners. However, around mid June, the first real fruit crop of a kitchen garden ripens: strawberries. It’s then that you can create the uniquely American strawberry-rhubarb pie.
The idea of mixing strawberries with rhubarb is that the sweetness of the strawberries balances with the tartness of the rhubarb. Generally you add a lot of sugar to the fruit of a fruit pie, so it’s hard to distinguish the sweet components from the tart ones. What’s more, the flavors of the strawberries and rhubarb intermingle as the pie bakes, resulting in a new flavor that doesn’t naturally occur; a terrific flavor that should appeal to any fruit-lover’s sweet tooth.
Make your own Pie
I made strawberry-rhubarb pies the other day. Usually, I make two pies at once because it makes just as much mess as making one pie. I bake one, and put the second in the freezer to bake during the off season; you can put a frozen pie in a 300F degree oven for about 20 minutes, then kick the temperature up to 375 or 400 degrees and cook it for another 40 minutes to an hour… it comes out of the oven as though you made it fresh that day.
When I’m going to freeze a pie, I make it in a “disposable” aluminum pie pan; if I’m going to bake it and eat it right away, I prefer a glass pie plate. In any case, when I made my strawberry rhubarb pies, I took a lot of photos and videos. I’ve embedded the videos in this blog post.
The first (6 minutes 20 seconds) demonstrates how to make a bottom crust for a fruit pie: the ingredients, mixing, rolling out dough, and lining the pie plate. The second video (4 minutes 20 seconds) explains how I made the strawberry-rhubarb filling for two pies… and provides insight into how to make pie filling using nearly any fruit. The third video (5 minutes) demonstrates how to make a lattice crust for a pie: mixing dough, rolling it out, and forming the lattice crust.
If you’ve never made pie, watching all three videos in order will get you through. If you know how to make pie crusts but have never made strawberry-rhubarb pie, the second video provides enough information for you to make your first.
When you’re ready to bake your pie, put it in a 400F degree oven on a jelly roll pan or a round pizza pan for 45- to 60-minutes. Check on it after 30 minutes, and if the crust is getting dark, decrease the oven’s temperature to 350F degrees. The pie is ready when the crust is gold brown and the filling is bubly and thick.
When you’ve made your first strawberry-rhubarb pie, please visit Your Small Kitchen Garden blog and leave a comment about your experience. Finally, if you prefer written instructions rather than video, visit my sister blog, Your Home Kitchen Garden. There I’ve presented step-by-step instructions along with plenty of photos.