March 1, 2011

WOM WEEKEND: Hometown Favorites, Part 2: Pie!

Posted by Ethne and Lori~

The second part of our meal for our WOM weekend together was pie.  In my family, pie is the dessert of choice, and it was always the dessert Thrifty Nana made for special events (or when we had loads of raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb in the summer).  Naturally we gobbled it up, Lori included, on many occasions.

We both thought of this as the perfect dessert for our WOM dinner.

The family recipe for pie includes homemade pie crust from butter and/or lard – don’t balk my friends – my Grandma W. is 86 and she’s been eating butter and lard her whole life.  A lifetime of pies in my German family - and lard is the secret for the ultimate flaky crust.  If you don't believe me, your loss.

I know how to make homemade crust, but because I had to work the day we cooked this meal, and because I had one store-bought pie crust in the freezer from a previous 2-pack, the store-bought crust was perfect.

What you’ll need:

1 pie crust
Fruit of your choice
Tapioca pearls (the small ones)
Brown sugar

Utensils you’ll need:

Pie plate
Pastry blender

To make:

STEP 1:  Preheat the oven to 350˚.

STEP 2:  Put 4 cups of fruit into a bowl.  We used frozen raspberries from Thrifty Nana’s yard and a few blueberries I had in the fridge.  Gently stir in 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of tapioca pearls (I shook in a little bit more for good measure because I hate runny pie).  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Summertime in a bowl

Sneaking Mur-Man a berry
STEP 3:  While the fruit mixture is resting, lay the pie crust into the pie plate so that the small excess part of the crust hangs over the edge evenly (this will be curled in at the end).  Gently smooth the crust so it is fitted to the shape of the plate.

Thank you Pillsbury!

STEP 4:  Pour the fruit into the pie plate.  It should come up to the edge of the plate.  Curl any excess crust over the edge of the fruit so it’s cupping it.  Drop 4-6 small pats of butter onto the fruit.  This is a family secret, so don’t skip it.

STEP 5:  In another bowl, put ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup flour and about 3 T. of butter.  Mash into small pebble-size nuggets with two knives or a pastry blender (which is much easier).  Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the fruit.

Heaven in a pie plate

STEP 5A:  Instead of putting the brown sugar ‘cobbler’ topping on, you can put another crust on top to make like a traditional fruit pie.  This is how my family does it, but I used what I had for WOM dinner.

STEP 6:  Bake for 40-60 minutes.  I am sorry I cannot narrow down the baking time more than this.  It may depend on the type of fruit you are using and the size of your pie.  I usually set my timer for 40 minutes, check it, then put it in for additional 10 minute increments until it’s done.  The pie crust will be golden and the fruit and sauce will be ‘boiling’ in slow-popping bubbles.

CAREFUL NOTES:  The pie mixture will be HOT, so don’t burn yourself when you take the pie out of the oven.  The pie mixture can bubble over when it’s baking, so you may want to take protective precautions with a layer of tin foil on the rack beneath your pie.

STEP 7:  Allow to cool completely then serve – it is to die for good!  We are talking midnight snack good.  We had just the right amount of tapioca because the fruit gelled perfectly.  Store on the countertop, covered with wrap, but if it’s not eaten up by the second day, store in the fridge from then on.  It won’t keep more than a few days in the fridge, so don’t delay in eating.

How could you delay eating anyway?

Seriously friends, this pie is crazy good.  It takes around an hour to bake, but the prep is 15-20 minutes and it couldn’t be easier - Lori couldn't BELIEVE how easy it is.  You pretty much dump in and stir together the ingredients.

I'm a professional eater.

We hope you’ll try our hometown favorites meal.  There are other favorites we may share in the future, but these are the ultimate! Thanks for the pie skills Thrifty Nana!

PS - Dad and Mom Connie came to visit the weekend after WOM weekend.  Dad's favorite dessert in the WHOLE WORLD is blueberry pie.  Of course that's what I made!  I made the crust from scratch this time, and it was so easy that I literally made the crust, rolled it out, filled it with fruit, baked, etc., while chatting with company and cooking the rest of the meal.  The pie was a HIT, but I knew that already.  After I sent a slice home with our guests, there was nothing left.  I'll do a mini post on homemade crust soon. ~E


Anonymous said...

Hi WOM ladies,
Hey, I made a blueberry pie last week. I used a tip I got from The Pie and Pastry Bible. Night before I planned to make the pie I picked over/cleaned the blueberries (which had been chosen as the filling due to a great sale). Mixed them with the sugar for the pie and heated everything just slightly in a stainless steel pan and then put it all in the fridge.

Next day I drained the sugar/blueberry juice that had collected. Put the berries aside and boiled the liquid until it reduced to a thick, thick syrup. Then I added just a little cornstarch (mixed with a tsp of cold water) to the syrup and poured it in with the berries and used it all to fill the pie.

With the make-a-liquid/reduce-the-liquid step, you end up needing to use much less of your thickener, whether it's cornstarch, flour or tapioca. Makes for a better texture and stronger fruit flavor that way and yet the pie won't get "soupy" after it's baked. You can use the technique on any fresh/frozen fruit pie filling. Chrissy

WOM-MOMS said...

Chrissy - Thanks for the tip! That's a great idea - and seems perfectly simple to do (WOMs are all for that!). If a person was running short of time, do you think that you could let the fruit sit for an hour or two on the counter after it's heated and then do the juice step? Just wondering.

Also, what setting on the stove did you boil the fruit liquid at - and did you have to stir constantly so it wouldn't burn?

Hey friends - I think we should follow WOM-Chrissy's advice! ~Ethne

WOM-MOMS said...

PS - We are trying to figure out why the "you might also like" is covering the comments. Fix soon hopefully.