Tag Archives: Pie

Bryce Canyon and A Slice of Buttermilk Pie

Have you ever eaten Buttermilk Pie?  The first time I had ever even heard of Buttermilk Pie was on a trip to southern Utah.  We were with a large group of folks who were hosting exchange teachers from Taiwan. We had taken the teachers sight-seeing through the dramatic canyonlands, a geological wonderland that sprawls across northern Arizona, southern Utah, western Colorado, and New Mexico.

Bryce Canyon National Park national park located in southwestern Utah. According to Wikipedia “the major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters, along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.

It was on this trip we stopped by a little cafe well-known for the 32 — yes 32 — different flavors of pie on the menu, one of which was Buttermilk.  Fast forward a few years and I find myself living in southern Tennessee surrounded by buttermilk pie lovers! (I like it too!)

The Brown Eyed Baker recently posted this stunning picture and the recipe for Buttermilk Pie.  I couldn’t have done better myself.

Happy Cooking!



Win with a Chocolate Chip and Walnut Mini-Pie

When my Chief Culinary Consultant won second place in his age group at the Southern Tennessee Plunge Half-Marathon on Saturday I set off straight to the kitchen.  After a cold-drizzly rain, falling temperatures, and an increasing wind I knew we would all need a good meal with a winning dessert. I started with the one ingredient I always start with when I want to give him a special treat — chocolate.  In this case, chocolate chips.
Trust me when I say it was cold — 48 degrees, drizzling rain (see the wet pavement) and you will just have to take my word for the wind.  Apparently the weather was only bothering the athletic supporters.  That would be the three M’s.  Me, Mom, and our friend Marilyn.  We are the ones shivering cold on the sidelines, but cheering none-the-less.  Lee and his running buddy Tom both love to run.  It is beyond my ability to even imagine why.  I am the one on the sidelines behind the camera and I like it that way!

I did run to the kitchen following Lee’s 2nd place win so that I could try out my first time purchase of Kirkland chocolate chips from Costco.  If you shop at Costco these chocolate chips are wonderful.  They cost less than Nestle chips and are much richer in taste and bigger in size.  They are perfect for the chocolate chip mini-pies I had racing around my head. I started with a batch of Flaky Pie Dough.  I wasn’t exactly how many mini-pies the chocolate chip dough would make and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of pie dough.  This recipe makes 4 single crusts so I knew I would have enough for my mini-pies.  My five little pies used the equivalent of 2 crusts.  I still have enough dough left for two 9″ crusts. While the pie dough rested in the refrigerator I mixed up the eggs, butter, flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla.  Oh my word this stuff is so finger-lickin’ good.  Not that I dipped a finger in there ….
I honestly don’t know how he can even be breathing let alone smiling :)

Finely chopped walnuts and my new-best-chocolate-chips go into the mix.
13.1 miles later he is smiling on the inside and very glad to be crossing the FINISH line.
One cup of chips go into the mini-pies, this handful … well, these are for the baker to taste test :)
I rolled out this lovely dough and shaped it in my mini-pie pans.  My sweet marathon runner is sleeping deeply in his favorite chair. What a surprise when he wakes up.

My mini-pie pans hold 3/4 cup.  This recipe filled 5 mini pans or one 9″ pie pan.
I sprinkled Turbinado sugar on the top of the little pies before baking.  This is totally optional, but I love the warm brown crystals shining on the top of the pie.
My sous-chef dish-washing mom, friend Marilyn, and our Chief runner.  Me? behind the camera, of course.
After the win, this chocolate chip & walnut mini-pie was a big hit with everyone!
This pie is best served slightly warmed with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.  Whether it is a regular sized pie or these little mini’s — every bite packs a flavor not soon forgotten!

VIEW and PRINT the Chocolate Chip and Walnut Mini-Pie recipe from my Tasty Kitchen Recipe Box.

~Blessings, Catherine

Flaky Pie Dough, Part 1

I made my first pie when I was a teenager. I knew my mom particularly liked pie of all kinds. Mom was a full-time Registered Nurse besides being mom to four fairly rambunctious kids and while she had dinner on the table every night, dessert like pie was a luxury her time could rarely afford.  As a precocious 16 year-old I had no idea that pie crust was known to be “difficult” to make and that bakers around the globe talk about the secret to making a perfect pie crust.
I only knew mom liked pie and I would make one.  Back then, the filling always came from a can of cherries or apple pie filling I would find in her pantry.  The pie dough came from a simple recipe I found in a cookbook — belonging to my mom!  I now have a collection of a half-dozen or so pie crust recipes I have made ranging from 4 to 7 ingredients!  But honestly, none gives me the consistently tender-crisp and flaky dough I found in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking With Julia. Once I made this pie dough I knew there would be no other for me.
The butter provides the flavor while the solid vegetable shortening provides the flaky crust.  This dough can be used to make a pie or tart, sweet or savory, plain or fancy. It can be made by hand, in a food processor, or a mixer.  How flexible is that?!! This recipe makes four 9″ or 10″ pie crusts, enough for 4 open-faced pies or two double-crusted pies.  At first it seemed like too much dough to have on hand. But I quickly learned that it freezes exceptionally well for up to a month (and probably a little more.) The recipe can also easily be cut in half.
The recipe outlines the method for making the flaky dough by hand, by mixer, or by food processor.  I typically like to make pie dough by hand so I can feel the texture and not over-mix it.

I guarantee you I have made some REAL TOUGH dough through the years.  Of course, I didn’t realize it then because in the spirit of teaching her daughter to cook mom always encouraged me to “make more” rather than discourage me.  My brother’s were the only ones to complain about my baking, but that is another story for another time :)

Here it is, easy as pie. Four steps.

1. With a pastry blender, cut chilled butter into the flour and salt until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Cut the chilled shortening until it forms curds.

2. Add the ice water gradually and toss to blend.

3. When the dough is sufficiently moist — pinch it – it will stick together.

4. Lightly gather the dough into a round and chill before rolling.

If you are in need of letting off some steam, de-stressing and you want to mix it, beat it, roll it around or knead it — make bread.  This is NOT the time to make pie dough.  Pie dough requires a gentle hand, a happy spirit, and a little whistle while you work doesn’t hurt either :)   — That’s the real secret:)

View the recipe and PRINT from my Tasty Kitchen Recipe Box.

Part 2 will be all the tips needed for making the perfect pie dough. Stay tuned ….

~Happy Pie Baking, Catherine

James 1:5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


My Caramel Pecan Pie

What do you think about caramel?  The taste, slightly sweet, very rich, gooey? Truth is, I can get obsessed about caramel with just the slightest encouragement.  There are the Sweet and Salty Chocolate Caramel Bars, and Banoffee Pie just for starters!

As you already know I am a BIG fan of Turbinado sugar, also known as sugar in the raw.  Since I bought this box I have tried it “here and there” with great success.  When my friend Nancy was visiting from Colorado I thought it only fitting to serve a very southern pecan pie before she returned home.

As I was gathering ingredients to make the pie my eyes landed on my little box of Turbinado sugar.  Oh my gosh … little did I realize what would happen when I substituted sugar in the raw for granulated sugar in my pie recipe. 
One of my favorite pie crusts is called “all butter crust.”  It goes together beautifully with unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, salt, a little sugar and ice water.  It is a very tender crust when rolled out but worth the effort.  The custard is made with the usual eggs, unsalted butter, salt, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and pecans.  The change comes when Turbinado sugar is substituted for the granulated sugar.  Before I baked this pie I sprinkled a few teaspoons of the sugar in the raw across the top.
The result is a pecan pie with a custard that resembles a beautifully rich caramel! I thought it would be good, but I sure didn’t know it would be GREAT!  For me — the best of all worlds! If you like pecan pie — give this a try! It’s wonderful.  Oh, and Nancy did love it also :)

PRINT the recipe from my Tasty Kitchen Recipe Box.

Today starts week 31 of our walk through the Bible. We are in the middle of the book of Jeremiah. Each week I post a daily Bible reading that only takes 10 to 15 minutes. I hope you will join me!

Jeremiah 30:1-3

New International Version (NIV)
Restoration of Israel

30 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3 The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity[a] and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.”

~Blessings, Catherine

TWD:BWJ Blueberry Nectarine Pie

Nectarines and blueberries.  Do you think that is a weird combination?  I didn’t, until after I made this pie and my family said, “why mess up a delicious blueberry pie by putting nectarines in it?  Good question!  What do the nectarines bring to the table and add to the pie?  Hmmm … let me think.

It’s Tuesdays with Dorie  — Today I join some 400+ other bakers and bake a Blueberry and Nectarine Pie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking With Julia cookbook.  I am having a blast baking recipes from this book.  I am learning new techniques, some new “keeper” recipes and interestingly enough, a few recipes I wouldn’t care to make again.  This week is a 50/50 split.

Meaning, I am adding this pie crust to my recipe box.  It is awesome.  It is soft and flaky and down-right wonderful.  But then … with butter and Crisco  — what  could go wrong!  Actually a lot could go wrong.  When I was all of 16 or so I started making pies for my family.  I loved being in the kitchen and my mother was gracious enough to allow me to come into her kitchen, raid the pantry, mess up the counters, fill the sink with dishes and turn out a pie for our family.  WORD of warning:  if  you feel the need to “knead the dough”, work through some frustrations and want to roll that dough back and forth in your hands until you feel better – make bread instead.  Pie dough needs to be blended well and then left alone!  Back in the day I use to form it into a ball, then I would fold it this way and that.  Knead it back and forth getting it all mixed just perfectly.  Then I would pound it together, smooth it out and if the edges weren’t just right I would roll it all into a ball and start over.  OH MY GOSH that dough would end up as tough as nails.  Oh, it would hold whatever filling I poured into it and it would brown up nicely, but try to cut it with a fork — NOT!
Pie dough likes to be mixed with a light and loving hand.  Even in the mixer it just needs to be lightly mixed together.  This dough came together beautifully in the mixer.  I was very careful to mix but not over-mix.  And guess what happened?   I didn’t mix the butter in enough.  Really?  Is this why pie dough has such a bad name and less and less people make pies?  So after I divided the dough into 4 equal amounts (this recipe makes 4 crusts) I gently squished in the butter in a couple of places where it wasn’t quite mixed well enough.  Done! The butter was incorporated and the pie dough was no worse for the wear.
I rested my dough over-night in the refrigerator.  The recipe calls for putting it in the frig for at least 2 hours or over-night.  In the morning I got my fresh picked berries together and sliced up the nectarine.  At this point half of the fruit is tossed with flour and sugar and set on the stove to cook.  In my ever-to-be-humble opinion, ALL of the fruit should have been added to cook with a lot more thickening using either more flour, cornstarch or even tapioca.  I followed the recipe, cooked half the fruit, mixed the rest in, added to the pie crust and prepared it for the oven.  I just love using one of my new favorite ingredients — Turbinado sugar and so of course I liberally sprinkled the top.

My friend Nancy was flying in from Colorado and spending the weekend.  So I baked the pie early in the morning and left it to sit on the counter for the day while I retrieved Nancy from Nashville.  I served the pie for dessert that evening.  When I cut into the pie it looked good but was a little juicier than I would have liked.  But oh that crust — melt-in-your-mouth wonderful.  Since this is a Tuesdays With Dorie recipe my Chief Culinary Consultant, Sous-chef-dish washing-mom and good friend, Nancy all joined in with plenty of comments and compliments.  Here is the jist of it …

~ The nectarines really didn’t add much to the flavor but contributed to the texture.
~ The pie was a little too juicy.
~ The blueberry flavor was perfectly spot-on!
~ The crust recipe makes 4 singles crusts and is the best we have had in a long time!
~ I will use this pie crust recipe again, but not the blueberry part.  I think the blueberries needed more thickening and even though we enjoyed the pie, I plan to post a keeper blueberry pie recipe in the future! :)

This recipe is hosted by TWD bakers Hilary and Liz.  Please check out the recipe on their websites:

Hilary of Manchego’s Kitchen
Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake

~Blessings, Catherine

““You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14,16 NIV

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