Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apple, Blueberry, and Rhubarb Pies

Last year we visited Mackinaw, Michigan, and they had homemade pies everywhere.  The fresh sweetness of the fruit and the comforting, buttery crust were the prefect finale to dinner. Those pies inspired me to start making pies. 

After I made this apple pie a couple of times, I went ahead and bought one of those apple corers/slicers/peelers.  Crank the handle a few times and your apple is ready.  It's a great time saver.  The crust recipe is from "Dinner in Minutes" and the rhubarb pie is adapted from (see references). 

Pie Crust:
2 c flour
1 t salt
1 T sugar, optional
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese
¼ c + 2T ice water
optional:  milk, sugar for top of crust

I use a stand-alone mixer.  If you use a food processor, follow directions written for a processor.
1. Put flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut butter and cream cheese in small slices into the flour mix.
2. Mix at low speed until dough resembles bread crumbs.
3. Add a little water, mix at low speed; repeat until dough forms one big ball.
4. Knead slightly with hands. Don’t overknead.
5. Split in half, cover (wrap in plastic wrap), and chill in refrigerator for at least 20 min.

Apple Filling:
6 c or 3 lb apples, peeled and sliced
2T flour (or tapioca flakes)
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ t each of mace, cloves, and allspice
1 T butter

Blueberry Filling:
¼ c four (or tapioca flakes)
1 c brown sugar
1 T butter
For Apple or Blueberry Pie:

Bake at 400 deg F, 40-50 min
1. Preheat oven and mix all ingredients except butter together. Let sit 15 min.
2. Lay rolled pie crust on bottom of pie pan. Pour in apple or blueberry mix.
3. Dot with butter.
4. Optional: Lay top crust over fruit. Sprinkle with sugar and cut small holes for venting.
5.  Bake

Rhubarb Filling:
4 c rhubarb, chopped
1/4 c flour
1 c brown sugar

For Rhubarb Pie:

Bake at 450 deg F, 15 min;  reduce to 350 deg F, bake 40-45 min
1.  Preheat oven and  mix flour and sugar in a small bowl. Keep rhubarb separate.
2.  Lay rolled pie crust on bottom of pie pan.  Spread 1/4 of sugar and flour onto bottom of pie crust, then the rhubard, then sprinkle the remaining sugar and flour on top.
3.  Roll out pie crust top and lay over the fruit filling.
4.  Optional:  Brush top of crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Raw sugar or demarera sugar work well.
5.  Bake.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


This is my husband's and my birthday cake. This cheesecake is delicious, though rich enough that a small slice will do, and doesn't call for any sour cream. It's based on Delia Smith's from her "Complete Cookery Course" (see References). She's a well known chef in the UK. Since my mother-in-law's cooking is so wonderful and she uses it, I picked up a copy for myself.

I made this recipe with brown sugar this time. It has more of a caramel taste. When it's made with white sugar, it has the familiar, classic cheesecake taste.

6 oz shortbread cookies, ginger snaps, or tea biscuits (check ingredients)
6 T butter

1 1/2 lb cream cheese (3 packages), softened (knead if straight out of fridge)
3 eggs
1/2 c + 2T white or brown sugar
1 t vanilla
Optional: fruit (strawberries, blueberries, or kiwi peeled and sliced)

Bake at 300 degrees for 30 min. Chill at least 2 hr.
1. Preheat oven. Melt butter and crush cookies. Stir cookie crumbs into butter. Spread and press into bottom and sides of pie pan or cheese cake pan to form the crust.
2. In electric mixer, mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until creamy smooth.
3. Pour filling into the crust. Bake (see "bake" above). Next, turn oven off and let pie cool inside the oven. Then chill at least 2 hr in fridge to make firm. Optional: top with fruit.

If you use a cheese cake tin, Delia says you soak a clean dish towel in hot water, wrap it around the sides of the tin and hold for a few seconds, then lift the base out.