Tag: pie

Apple Blueberry Pie

I was born in a small town in rural southern British Columbia. We had 10 acres of land and to a small child, it was enormous; a wondrous, magical place full of nature and adventure. The property sported a small orchard of beautifully twisted and gnarled apple trees and if you have seen an apple tree you may understand how magical they appear.

They have a particular grayish bark that makes them look ancient and wise and during the spring they burst with soft pink blossoms that later in the summer and fall become perfect fruit. Many a sunny summer day was spent amongst those ancient beauties, climbing, conversing with bees and picking apples, then watching my mother’s hands peel them, slice and spice them, and bake them into perfect pies in our farmhouse’s wood burning oven.

Now I live a long way away from that pastoral life, I’m decades beyond those hazy summer apple-picking days. I can easily stop by a grocery store or bakery and buy a pie, and it would be good, it might even be great. It might remind me vaguely that I once upon a time plucked sun-warmed apples in the shade of hundred year old trees. Or maybe not. Despite time and distance, nostalgia is a potent force and despite it being a seemingly insignificant goal to pick apples and make a pie from them, the action, for me, was soul satisfying. Sometimes simple things can transport us, take us back in time and place and let us re-live a moment, or re-connect with someplace or some one we have lost or moved on from.

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Dreamy Avocado Lime Freezer Pie

raw avocado lime pie recipe

I make no secret of disliking the heat of summer. And that’s coming from an almost lifetime resident of Vancouver, a city with one of the mildest climates out there. Still, when the heat hits, as it has for the last few weeks with no end in sight, I tend to like my dinner al fresco, my drinks extra icy and my desserts chilled. Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to turn on the oven today. (more…)

Peaches and Cream Ice Box Pie

I have a dream and it involves an old house in the country. It’s a big old farm house, well worn and comfy. It’s painted yellow with a big white front porch and lots of trees around it. The yard is rambling and lush with fruit trees and a bountiful garden. It’s the kind of house that has lots of room for guests in its spare but comfortable bedrooms filled with light and maybe even a screened in back porch, perfect for sleeping in on balmy summer nights. It’s hallways are decorated with frames filled with family portraits, everyone sitting on the front stairs, each year looks different as everyone gets older. What doesn’t change are the smiles, the bare feet and the sun kissed cheeks of happy people. It is the perfect house for summer entertaining. In this vision I can smell the barbecue smoke mingling with the jasmine and lilac. I can hear the clink of horseshoes being tossed, people laughing, and birdsong. There in the middle of it is a long table outside, set for what is always an epic family dinner. It’s a cook and entertainer’s dream. Mismatched chairs, laundry-line-dried linens, jars and juice glasses filled with flowers, it sits at the center of things, constant and stoic, waiting for its guests to tuck in. There’s no texting, no worry about tomorrow’s commute, nothing but relaxation and fun.

Bliss.

This pie fits that dream. It suits the easy mood and tastes like summer. It is not overly complicated, not cloyingly sweet, but it certainly tastes like a treat and summarizes the culinary freshness of summer. When peaches are not quite in season, or unavailable, canned will work just fine, simply drain them well so they don’t make the creamy filling too soft.

 

Peaches and Cream Ice Box Pie

For the crust:

preheat the oven to 375°

In a large, deep pie dish, combine:

3 C graham cracker crumbs

1/3 C softened butter or margarine

1/4 C sugar

Using your fingers, rub the crumbs and sugar into the butter until it is the texture of damp sand. Spread the crumbs evenly over the bottom and sides of the pie dish, pressing to compact them and make the crust.  Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes until it has darkened, dried slightly and is fragrant. Allow to cool fully. Set aside.

For the filling:

4 C sliced peaches (fresh or canned if you want this out of season)

¼ C cold milk

¼ C hot milk

1 packet plain gelatin

2 cups whipping cream

2 C icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 Vanilla bean, scraped, pod discarded

1/2 tsp almond extract

Sprinkle the gelatin onto the cold milk and stir. Add the hot milk and stir again until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool. Whip the whipping cream to soft peaks, add the sugar, almond extract and vanilla. Slowly add the cooled gelatin mixture. Continue beating for 1 more minute. Scrape cream into the cooled, prepared crumb crust, smoothing the top. Arrange the peach slices on top. Chill the finished pie for at least 2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada but our celebrations have finished and we are resting after a busy, social and incredibly fun and heartwarming weekend. We hosted a small Thanksgiving at our house on Saturday, (Orphans’ Thanksgiving as we call) which involved a Thanksgiving dinner for friends who don’t have family locally to celebrate with. This year that included an Australian friend of ours who had never experienced Thanksgiving at all. It was a lot of fun sharing the traditions we Canadians have been lucky enough to grow up with.

Following Orphans’ Thanksgiving, my extended family gathered, cooked, laughed and shared the traditional harvest feast, complete with turkey and all the things that come with it. Highlights included my brother wearing a turkey shaped hat and making an incredibly odd, yet accurate, gobbling sound, our grandfather proclaiming that next Thanksgiving we should all take to the road and celebrate at our cabin, despite its tiny oven, and lastly, but not at all least, my tiny nephew Gavin who is just 13 months old, pointing and laughing at everything and repeating his one phrase “what’s that?”.

So why, after all that, am I baking? Well, the truth is, I kind of failed at my post yesterday: I was supposed to bake these pies for Family Thanksgiving. Orphans’ Thanksgiving went late, I had cooked all day and I ended up sleeping in yesterday morning (thank goodness Costco was open so we were able to take a store-bought apple pie). Additionally, tomorrow is Baked Goods Tuesday in my office and it’s my turn to bring in the treat. What better to bring in after a holiday weekend than something that nods to Thanksgiving itself? (As if we haven’t had enough already …)

The recipe is simple enough, though I have made some tweaks to the original with a change of crust, amplified butterscotch flavours and earthy fall spices to offset the nuts and chocolate. It’s quite forgiving, so don’t stress — considering what its made of, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong.

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe found on epicurious.com

preheat oven to 350° makes 1 – 9?pie

For the crust, combine the following and press into a 9 inch pie dish:

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs

1/4 C butter, melted

Add to the bottom of the crust:

1 C chocolate chunks (chips would do fine)

2 C whole, raw, unsalted pecans

For the pie filling, mix together:

1/2 C butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 mins)

1 1/2 C light brown sugar, packed

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons Scotch or dark rum (if you’re not into adding alcohol, use vanilla)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Pour the egg and sugar mix over the nuts and chocolate in the prepared pan.

Place the pie dish on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes until it is puffed and golden, still slightly jiggly and smelling richly of caramel.

Allow to cool and set fully before slicing and serving.