Pie in My Eye Round Up!

With the bounty of fresh fruits in summer, a great way to use them is to make pie! But if you’re like me, you probably don’t want a whole pie in your kitchen to tempt you. So my friends and I decided it to make pies anyway… only in smaller packages as hand pies.
For our hand pies, we chose to fill them with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mango. Here are pictures of our event. Also check out this link for some helpful tips & hints with Pie Dough 101!

Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough
– makes one 9-inch double-crust pie –

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted pie recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Amy of Just2Good ! Amy will be receiving a Pastry/Baker’s Roller tool compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Amy and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Mom’s Apple Pie
Karen joins us with a special pie that’s near and dear to her. Not only was it a recipe of her mom’s but she made this pie for someone’s birthday! Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!

Dhanggit from Dhanggit’s Kitchen
from Aix Provence, France
Nutella Dulche de Leche Tartellette
Dhanggit joins us from France and has been one of my fave blogs to read. I’m thrilled that she has joined in this blogging adventure to share with us her gorgeous entry. Even the name of her dish makes me hungry. You definitely should check out her blog for the recipe and get some “Nutella theraphy“… because we all need that now and then!
Amy of Just2Good
from Florida
Apple Pie
Amy shares with us a pie recipe she made and brought to a dinner party. She used recipes from 2 sources to create such a beautiful pie! To find out what sources she used and the recipe, check out her blog!

Melissa of Made by Melissa
from New Hampshire
Blueberry Pie
Melissa shares a pie her husband made, since she isn’t a fan of pie. The pie was bursting with blueberries and I especially liked how the top of her pie was decorated. To find out how and for the recipe, check out Melissa’s blog!

Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
from Ontario, Canada
Raspberry Peach Pie
I’m a fan of peach melbas and after checking out Pyschgrad’s entry, I knew this would be an excellent recipe to try. However, someone preferred that Psychgrad not bake this pie. Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!


The Food Hunter
from Arizona
Honey & Pine Nut Pie
A new comer to the my blogging adventures is The Food Hunter! She shares with us her special pie challenge that combines 2 pantry staples (at least in my house) resulting in a sweet looking pie. Check out The Food Hunter’s blog for the recipe!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
Blackberry Custard Pie
Becke has one of my favorite blogs because she often creates dishes using creative combinations and her pictures are outstanding. I’m so glad she participated in this event because her pie entry looks so delicious! Forget plain custard pies… and forget plain blackberry pies. Combine these two for a pie that’s both fruity and creamy! Check out Becke’s blog for the recipe!

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Blueberry Hand Pies w/Lavender Honey Whipped Cream

And to end on a sweet note, I have been inspired by all my fellow bloggers who participate in the Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) blogging event. Today many bloggers who participate featured Blueberry Pie. As much as I like pie, I don’t like having a whole pie sitting around at home. In fact, individual servings are better for us since it helps with portion control. With the TWD as my inspiration, I made Blueberry Hand Pies with Lavender Honey Whipped Cream.

Here are the Blueberry Hand Pies with Lavender Honey Whipped Cream recipe I made, adapted from this one from Food Network and Epicurious:

For Filling:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Prepared pie crust

Finishing Touches:
Egg yolk, lightly beaten
Turbinado sugar

Combine flour, sugar, blueberries and almond extract and stir gently until evenly coated.

Working with 1 round at a time, roll pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut circles, approximately 5-inches in diameter using a plate or bowl as a guide. You should have a total of 8 circles.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of blueberry filling into the center of each circle. Carefully fold circle over to form a half moon shape. Using a fork, dipped lightly in flour, press tines along the open edge to seal. Transfer hand pies to a parchment paper lined sheet pan and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove your hand pies from the refrigerator and brush with egg yolk, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

For whipped cream:
1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1 heaping tablespoon honey, slightly warmed

While waiting for the pies to cook, process the dried lavendar in your spice grinder until its powdered. In a cold bowl, add the powdered lavender, honey and whipping cream. Whip with a hand mixer until you get nice stiff peaks. Use to garnish your hand pies once cooled.

**I’m also submitting my Blueberry Hand Pies w/Lavender Honey Whipped Cream to the Living La Vida Local blogging event hosted by Beth of Muffin Love! I used organic & local blueberries for this dessert and thought it would be fitting for the event. Be sure to check out the round up next week for additional ways to use local and fresh produce.**

Deep Dish Cherry Pie

The following recipe was shared at my Chicago Chefs Dinner event. You can read more about it and get additional recipes featured at the event HERE.

Deep Dish Cherry Pie
Shared at the event by Joelen
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand
Show: Sweet Dreams Episode: American Pie

Piecrust dough, homemade or store bought
For the filling:
1 1/4 pounds fresh or thawed frozen cherries, or 2 (16-ounce) cans pie cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Roll out the pie dough to 1/8th-inch thick and chill on parchment lined sheet pans. Cut out disks of dough 1-inch bigger than your ovenproof 8 to 12 ounce crocks. Keep chilled until ready to use. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drain the cherry juices into a medium saucepan; you should have about a cup of juice. Add the cornstarch, sugar, ginger, and lemon juice and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch then bring it to a simmer over medium heat whisking all the while. When thickened, turn off the heat, stir in the cherries. Pour the cherry filling into the ovenproof dishes and set aside to cool slightly. Carefully place the rolled-out disks on top and ease them into the dishes so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Brush each disk with a little heavy cream and then sprinkle lightly with 2 tablespoons of sugar. With the tips of a pair of scissors, snip a X vent hole in the top of each crust. Place the pies on a sheet pan, to catch any juices that boil over. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling at the vents, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Freezer Meals: The Recipes

In my initial freezer cooking post, I didn’t include the recipes since I was still recovering from the day of cooking. But here are the recipes for some of the dishes I made, including the Chicken Pot Pie & the Southwestern Turkey Chili:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
3-4 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
frozen mixed vegetables, kept frozen
1-2 cups cooked chicken
prepared pie crust

In a dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in oil.
When onions soften, add the butter.
Once butter melts down, add the flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.
Slowly add the heavy cream and stir.
Once you have a roux and cream is all mixed in, add the broth.
Simmer until it thickens.
Add frozen veggies and chicken, seasoning to taste.
You can also add your choice of dried herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.
Place mixture in a disposable loaf pan.
Mixture should be luke warm and once cooled completely, cut prepared pie crust to fit the top of the loaf pan, to sit above the filling.
Cover with foil and place in heavy duty freezer bag.

To cook, preheat oven to 350.
Place thawed pot pie on a baking sheet uncovered and bake for 45-50 min.

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Chili is a great dish to freeze and is great during these cold winter months too. I made a southwestern chili and once it cooled, I ladled it into quart size freezer bags. The bags hold a perfect serving amount for 2 people and I like how I can freeze them flat like a book – maximizing the space in my freezer!

(you could even make this in a crock pot, cool then place in heavy duty freezer bags)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons dark chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
flour as needed

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks, until turkey is browned. Do not drain fat.
Add tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and corn. Stir in broth.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Bring to simmer, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or scalding.
If the chili is too thick, add additional broth. If it is thin, stir 1/4 cup masa flour into an equal amount of water, then stir into the chili. Cook 5 minutes.
If the chili is still thin, repeat with an additional 1/4 cup masa flour.
Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings and spices to taste.

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople

Here are the recipes for the desserts on my Thanksgiving buffet dinner menu. I figured I’d post the recipes now before the kitchen chaos begins (and I’ll post pics of the final products by Thursday)…

with a few of my adjustments below

prepared double pie crust
½ cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup water
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 apples, peeled, cored & sliced thin.

Preheat oven to 425.
Melt butter in saucepan & stir in flour to form a roux.
Add water, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
In a deep dish pie pan, place one crust.
In a bowl, add apples that have been sliced thin.
Gently pour 3/4 of the sugar/butter mixture into the bowl of apples; toss to coat.
Carefully layer apples into crust, piling high to use them all.
Cover the top of the pie with a lattice work of crust.
Brush lattice work top with remaining sugar mixture.
Bake 15 minutes in the oven.
Reduce temp to 350 and bake 35-45 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

Here are the recipes for the desserts on my Thanksgiving buffet dinner menu. I figured I’d post the recipes now before the kitchen chaos begins (and I’ll post pics of the final products by Thursday)…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles:

1 prepared pumpkin pie (homemade or store brought) *
1 prepared cheesecake (homemade or store bought) *
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

In a large bowl, mash up both the pumpkin pie and cheesecake.
Using a melon baller scoop, make rounded balls of the combined mixture.
Place on a parchment lined plate.
Chill in fridge to set.
You can freeze at this point if you’d like.
To serve, roll truffles in graham cracker crumbs.
* You can also use a pumpkin cheesecake in place of the pie and cheesecake.