I’m jumping on the Pi day bandwagon! And why not? Any excuse to make pie. And I also happen to love dates that have some numerical-mathematical significance. 3-14-15 and 3.1415! It’s amazing! And tasty.
And oh my goodness. These sweet little pies are magical. The best way I can describe them is to compare them to those Duncan Hines boxed mix blueberry muffins with the can of blueberries and the streusel topping. Making those is one of earliest memories I have of baking something on my own. If you haven’t ever had them before you are missing something special.
These came into being so perfectly. I had a frozen pie crust (this recipe from Smitten Kitchen), a can of blueberry pie filling (don’t judge), a half package of cream cheese and some leftover frozen streusel from kolaches (this recipe). All of that came together to make something so incredible that I will be making these again without changing a thing.
Aside from making the pie crust there isn’t much work to do.
Prepare the crusts.
Spread with cream cheese.
You could make this in a regular pie plate, but these mini pie pans are a generous individual size and I really liked the way the pies baked in them. After the pies cooled they were very easily removed from the pans. They seem pricey, but are worth it. They’d be great for pot pies, too.
Go enjoy Pi day and have a great weekend!
Blueberry Cream Cheese Streusel Mini Pies
1 unbaked pie crust for a 9-inch pie
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 can blueberry pie filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, chilled
Make streusel: Use a pastry blender to combine sugar, flour and butter. Chill.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Divide the pie crust into 4 pieces, roll each piece out into a circle that fits into the pan. Trim the edges. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar together until well combined. Spread cream cheese mixture into the bottom of each pie.
Top with blueberry filling.
Top with streusel.
Place pies on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the crusts and tops are golden brown. If they brown too quickly top with a sheet of foil.
Let cool and then serve warm or room temp with vanilla ice cream.
I’m working my way through some recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook and really enjoying it so far! If you missed this post, then check it out now. Those cookies will blow your socks off. This is another one that is on the simple side, not at all daunting. It wasn’t what I expected when I saw “brownie pie”, but was quite delicious and something I’d definitely make again.
I broke down and bought Joy the Baker’s newest cookbook. I kept seeing it everywhere and couldn’t resist that pretzel cake on the cover. That pretzel cake must have still been on my mind while I leafed through the pages because I stopped dead in my tracks at this pie with pretzel crust. I needed to do some pie research for Thanksgiving, so I gave this a shot. Strictly for research purposes…
The crust is pretty basic, but uses cold buttermilk instead of water. I had to add a bit more buttermilk than called for in the recipe to get it to stick together easily, but that is the only issue I ran in to with the crust. It rolls out nicely and bakes up well. I love the way the pretzels look lining the crust. It’s really too bad you can’t see it after filling and baking.
Into the crust goes a butterscotch filling that is rich and creamy and amazing. When the first step in any recipe is browning butter you can’t be on the wrong track. After cooking it has to chill for 2 hours, so be sure to plan accordingly.
The meringue is surprisingly good. I was hesitant to add in the thyme, but was very glad I did. It’s just noticeable enough. Not overpowering but you still know it’s there, a slight savory note to balance the sweetness. And the marshmallow does make it very sweet, which I happen to like. I think it would be especially good on a sweet potato pie. As we all know, sweet potatoes and marshmallows are meant for each other.
After filling and topping, the meringue gets a nice toast in the oven. I think I under-baked mine just a bit. I only let it go for about 4 minutes. It could’ve used just a couple more for color and for the meringue to get a little sturdier. When sliced the meringue got a little oozy, which makes no difference in taste but makes for a messy presentation.
You can serve this immediately after cooking the meringue, or chill it in the fridge. I had better luck slicing and serving after the pie had time to chill, and my meringue was more cooperative.
The pretzels get a little soggy but still have enough crunch to add some nice texture to the pie. I love the idea and the look of the pretzels, but this would still be a delicious pie without them.
I am really looking forward to trying more recipes from this cookbook! Go grab a copy, it’s so much fun to look through and drool over.
Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
Add in butter and work in using either clean hands or a pastry blender. When butter is broken down into pieces roughly the size of oat flakes with some large pieces make a well in the center and add in the buttermilk. Mix together using a wooden spoon until dough kind of holds together, but is still loose.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead into a disc, cut the disc in half and form each into a round. Wrap each in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. (You only use one of these rounds for this pie, so use or freeze the other.)
Flour a work surface and roll one of the rounds into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Move to a 9-inch pie plate, press gently into the plate and trim the edges and fold or crimp the edges.
Arrange the pretzels on the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust, pressing them slightly into the dough. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and press gently into the pie plate. Fill the foil with beans, rice or pie weights.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until it begins to brown. Cool completely before filling.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue)
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Brown the butter in a small saucepan by heating it over medium heat. Cook, watching it carefully and swirling the pan frequently until butter begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat immediately so it doesn’t burn. Let cool.
In a medium saucepan combine egg yolks, molasses, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk. Heat over medium and whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard and chill for at least 2 hours.
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 jar marshmallow cream (7 ounces)
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the sugar and thyme in a small bowl and use your fingers to rub the thyme into the sugar.
Scrape marshmallow into a large bowl and whisk (at least try to, this stuff is sticky!)
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment whisk egg whites on medium speed until they begin to froth. Add the salt, then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time while increasing the speed of the mixer gradually to medium high. Beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
Fold half of the egg whites into the marshmallow to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites in 3 batches.
Assemble and Bake
Preheat oven to 400°F and move oven rack to the middle or top third depending on your oven size. You want the pie near the top to brown the meringue.
Spoon custard into pie crust and smooth the top.
Top with the meringue and spread just to the edges without covering the crust.
Bake for 4-7 minutes, until meringue has browned to your liking.
This past weekend was spectacular. The weather has been so nice and I am embracing spring in Texas and trying hard not to think too much about what summer will bring. We spent this weekend at my husband’s family lake house on Lake LBJ, northwest of Austin. While we were there we took a little trip to Sweet Berry Farms. It’s in Marble Falls, a quick drive from the lake. It’s a quaint and fun place to visit for berry picking in the spring and summer. It’s also where Ben and I got engaged 9 years ago. Yes, NINE. So visiting this past weekend was sweet and nostalgic for me.
We picked strawberries and had a lovely time (except for my son who kind of lost it due to lack of good sleep and just being 3 1/2.) If you are ever in the area, please make the time to visit, especially during blackberry season. Blackberry cobbler is what summer is all about! And other things too, I guess. But mainly cobbler.
My mother-in-law and I split the berries and my brain was working on all kinds of ways to use them. I don’t subscribe to Food Network Magazine, but picked up a copy last week to have some mindless reading material for the lake. When I saw the recipe in the magazine for strawberry rhubarb pie right after we’d been berry picking I knew it was a sign. Plus I’d never made or even eaten a strawberry rhubarb pie before. I had to give it a try.
I had a few hiccups with this pie. First the crust. It says to chill it for 30 minutes. I chilled it for an hour. I rolled it out between parchment but when I went to transfer it to the pie plate I lost half of it, all stuck to the parchment in a seriously gooey mess. So I tossed it and decided to try a different crust recipe. I went with this one from Smitten Kitchen.
Unfortunately I’d already made the filling, anticipating that the first crust was going to work out. Silly me! Fruit releases juice when it sits with sugar and lemon juice, and strawberries and rhubarb release a LOT of juice. I stuck it in the fridge while I waited for my new crusts to chill for 2 hours. I think 2 hours is the minimum time for pie crust, you just can’t rush that step. Unless you roll out the dough between parchment first and then chill it in the freezer…wish I’d thought of that…
After rolling out the new crust I went to fill it. I used a slotted spoon and left all of the liquid in the bowl. I had a tough time doing it since I knew that stuff had to be good. But I am so glad I resisted the urge to add a little to the pie. As the pie baked it released even more juice and even managed to escape the pie plate and get all over the bottom of my oven and fill the kitchen with smoke. Fun times. I can’t imagine the mess if I’d added more liquid. NOTE: This is why you put foil under fruit pies when you bake them.
A lattice top adds something so special to pie. It takes a little extra time than just a top crust, but is well worth the effort. A little cream and turbinado sugar on top creates a terrifically crunchy and beautiful topping. Don’t skip this step.
After cooling the pie I cut a slice and knew that we were in for a mess. Maybe the filling could use more flour for thickener? Or maybe this is just the way it is with this type of pie. But there was lots of juicy goodness going on that creates a delicious, but not incredibly aesthetically pleasing piece of pie. The bottom crust was pretty soggy, but the top crust was so crunchy that I didn’t care a bit. We enjoyed this a la mode, but fresh whipped cream or simply plain would be great. The filling is tart and sweet but not cloying. The rhubarb cooks down so nicely and gives a texture to the filling that strawberries alone could not achieve. And again, that top crust. Amazing.
So if you find yourself with some strawberries and/or rhubarb this summer, give this a try. Or these, or this. Or THIS! Tis the season! Why has it taken me this long to try rhubarb? The checker at the grocery store didn’t even know what it was. Oh, and if you have access to free or cheap rhubarb, be ever so thankful. I had no idea it was so expensive, almost $8/pound at our HEB. Someone tell me, where can I get it for less?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Filling adapted ever so slightly from Food Network Magazine
Crust from Smitten Kitchen
2 sticks of cold butter, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2-3/4 cup ice cold water
heavy cream, half and half or milk
coarse or turbinado sugar
1 pound rhubarb, end trimmed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 a lemon
In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt together.
Add in the cold butter cubes and using either your hands or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is relatively evenly incorporated with just a few larger pieces.
Pour in 1/2 cup of the cold water and use either a spatula or your hands to bring the dough together. Add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough seems dry.
Turn out onto a clean work surface and work into a nice ball of dough.
Cut in half, take each piece and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425°F and place a piece of foil or a foil lined cookies sheet on the lower rack.
Roll one dough ball out (between parchment if you like that method) on the counter into an 11-12 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate, press into the plate and leave the overhang.
Fill with the strawberry filling.
Roll the other dough ball out into an 10-11 inch circle.
Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice the dough into long strips, between 1/2 and 1 inch wide.
Lay out half of the strips on to the pie, evenly spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Use strips that are longer in the middle and shorter on the edges.
Trim off any excess from the lattice work, then fold the overhang from the bottom crust over the edges and crimp everything together.
Brush the crust with cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 375F and bake for another 40-50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is nicely browned. Don’t forget to put foil or a foil lined cookie sheet on the rack under the pie!
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Serve with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this lemon cream pie. Nothing at all. Simple flavors, creamy filling, slightly tart and slightly sweet with a crunchy, buttery crust. There is one lone slice left in the fridge and I am tempted to eat it for breakfast. It can’t be any worse than a donut, right?
This came about at the last minute the other night when some sweet friends brought dinner for us after I’d been out of town all week. Since they were bringing everything, I said I’d make something for dessert. It was 5 o’clock. As fate would have it, I had everything I needed for this pie, including a box of Mi-Del graham crackers that, in my opinion, took this pie to a place it would never have gone with a box of Honey Maid. They’re more substantial in texture and flavor and provided a great base for the pie.
I started this pie at 5 and we ate it at 8. With 2 hours of that being chilling time this pie is pretty quick and easy. And there isn’t really an hour of active time since cooling time for the crust and pie is factored into the hour. What I’m saying is that if you’re in a time crunch and want to give something more impressive than a box of Oreos to dinner guests, make this pie.
You may not have a great reaction to this combination; tomato and pie. Ben didn’t either when I told him what we were having for dinner. When all was said and done though, he had three helpings last night and we finished off the rest of this today for lunch.
This recipe is from Simply Recipes. Here is the link. Her picture is so much prettier than what came out of my oven, but it still tasted great. I will admit to being a little impatient when it comes to eating these days, so maybe if I had let it cool a bit longer I would have had better luck in removing whole pieces instead of chunks of pie.
I get really hungry and excited about eating, and I just cannot wait to eat sometimes! I’m pregnant, so I’m using that as my excuse. Only 6 more weeks to use that one.
While Ben was slightly disappointed that there was no meat in our meal, he put on a happy face and eat it anyway. If you wanted to add meat, I think some crumbled cooked bacon on top of the sautéed onions would be nice.
I will make this simple meal again and I would definitely think about serving it at a ladies lunch or brunch as a whole pie or in little tart shells.
The fresh basil with the tomatoes is a lovely match as always. I used 2 cups of chopped red tomatoes and 1 cup of chopped yellow tomatoes from the rest of my tomato plant’s crop. I used a combination of mozzarella and swiss cheese with good results, but some nice sharp cheddar in there would also be tasty. The Tabasco gives a nice spicy punch, but you could leave it out if you are not a fan of that kick. Enjoy!
Courtesy of Simply Recipes
1 9-inch pie shell
1 yellow onion, chopped and sautéed in olive oil or butter
3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced basil
2 cups grated cheese (any combination you choose)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (light or regular)
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie shell in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or longer until lightly golden. If you are starting with a frozen crust, you’ll need to cook it a little longer. If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then line the crust with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.
Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell with onion. Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.
Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.
Blueberries were on sale at my grocery store for $0.99 a pint! I bought 4 pints. While I am more than happy to eat them plain as a snack or as a garnish for my yogurt, I wanted to do something a little more exciting with these sweet little berries. I chose this luscious blueberry pie. I think it’s a perfect summer dessert.
This is not, however, just blueberry pie. The filling is made of sour cream, eggs, sugar, flour and blueberries. And the fun doesn’t end there. On top of this pie is a streusel type topping made of butter, sugar and flour. This pie has no other option than to be delicious.
On allrecipes.com, this pie is called Creamy Blueberry Pie. Here is the link. It calls for a 9 inch deep dish pie crust, but I decided to make my own crust. This is not something I do very often. I like the convenience of a store bought crust, and they usually taste great. The Pillsbury kind that you roll out on your own are the best. I’ve found that the frozen kind already in the pan have a tendency to crack, and the edge of the crust looks like it came out of a machine…because it did. So, if you do use a store crust, go with the one that at least looks like it’s homemade!
Most pie crust recipes are quite similar. All use flour, sugar, salt, some kind of fat, and some kind of liquid. Having your ingredients chilled is considered to be a must in pie crust making. It is also important not to overwork the dough. You can mix the dough by hand, or in a food processor. When you mix the dough, make sure that you can still see bits of the fat in the finished product. This ensures a tender, flaky crust.
As some of you may know I have a bit of an obsession with Rebecca Rather and her bakery in Fredericksburg, Texas. I saw her there once and I was starstruck! She was signing a book for someone, and I thought about getting her to sign my face…but thought better of it. OK, so I am not that obsessed. Honestly though, the bakery is incredible and so is her Pastry Queen cookbook. I have made a total of 16 recipes from it, and everything has been wonderful. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true. No failures, no disasters, no disappointments to speak of. Buy it now.
This last recipe that I tried from her cookbook was no exception to the rule of deliciousness. Buttermilk Pecan Pie. I love pecan pie. My grandma June’s is by far my favorite. Grandma June’s pie is a classic pecan pie with the corn syrup and yummy gooey center. Rather’s buttermilk pie is creamier, with just a bit of gooey going on. I am one who likes the gooey-ness, but some people are averse to pecan pie goo. Crazy, I know. So this would be a good alternative for those crazy goo hating people who like pecans and pie.
I did not make my own pie crust. I am so very sorry. I had a Pillsbury one in the freezer and was short on time, so I gave in and took a shortcut. One day I will have the time to make everything from scratch all the time, but at this point in my life I do not have that kind of time!
Serve this pie with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Thanksgiving was wonderful. Ben and I traveled to my sister’s house in Dallas to spend the holiday with my parents, my 3 sisters and their husbands, my nephew, cousins and their husbands, their kiddos, my aunt and uncle and grandpa. We had 19 people for lunch on Thursday, and it was so great to have so many people there. It’s getting harder and harder for all of us to get together now that everyone is moving to all ends of the country and having kids. So, this was a special Thanksgiving. The food was incredible and included a cornucopia of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean and mushroom casserole, balsamic roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed carrots and fennel, and flaky rolls.
Dessert is a favorite part of the meal. Pies are the traditional Thanksgiving dessert in our family. This year we had apple streusel, pumpkin, and cinnamon custard pies, a gingerbread pear tart, and a chocolate chip pumpkin bundt cake. We did not make a pecan pie for Thanksgiving day, but I just couldn’t stand not having a piece this year. So we made one after Thanksgiving…not that we really needed any more pie, but a little extra pie never really hurt anyone.
The cookbook that gave me macaroon pie also gave me the base for this pie. It is a buttermilk pie, but in putting it together I thought to myself, “What flavors could I add to this pie to make it less simple and plain?” The answer from my creative inner self was…eggnog! I had nutmeg and for some strange reason I had rum. I think I’ve had this bottle for a few years and I’m not sure where it came from. Anyway… I figured this was a good plan. After all, the holiday season is approaching and if the grocery store is selling eggnog, I can make an eggnog pie.
I have to admit something. I don’t like drinking eggnog. It makes me feel like I’m drinking melted ice cream. A little too thick for my taste. However, I do like things that are eggnog flavored. I like eggnog ice cream. While visiting my sister in New York one Christmas we went to Jacques Torres shop and I bought a box of holiday truffles. The white chocolate eggnog truffle was spectacular. If you’re in NYC this season you should stop by and get one…or more than one. The gingerbread truffle was also very good. Oh, and you have to buy the chocolate covered Cherrio’s that they sell! I’m getting carried away now.
Anyway, I won’t drink a cup of eggnog, but I will eat something that takes like it. It’s a texture thing I suppose. I guess I am my mother’s daughter. I’m not sure if this is acceptable or not, but I felt I should admit this character flaw to you.
I added some rum and nutmeg to the base of this pie. I contemplated adding cinnamon, but ended up deciding against it. Maybe I will try it next time. I used a store bought pie crust to save some time. I’ve tried my hand at making scratch pie crust before, and I don’t think it’s too terribly hard to make something edible, but achieving a perfect, buttery, flaky crust is no simple task. It is also a rather time consuming process and makes a mess of your kitchen. A weeknight dessert should not require a lot of cleaning up. The refrigerated crusts taste pretty good, so I am OK using them every now and then.
I liked the flavor, and found it pretty similar to eggnog. The crust had a good crunch, and the filling was smooth and creamy. I served this with simple sweetened whipped cream (you can use cool whip in a time crunch). A simple and easy pie. It may not make you fall over and cry with delight, but it it good. Try it without the nutmeg and rum for a simple buttermilk pie.
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 unbaked pastry shell
Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl.
Mix in eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla, rum and nutmeg.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake at 425° for 10 minutes.
Turn oven temperature down to 350° and bake for 30 minutes more.