Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tina, Would You Bring the Pies This Year?

Good morning, Tina here, a day late. We had some terrific storms last weekend and they left my computer feeling rather raggedy, me too, since I was battling the flu the whole time. But it was a good weekend to spend in bed in my bathrobe planning my addition to our Christmas dinner, which will be at my niece's home. I am bringing pies. I love to bake pies. All the Gold Country Girls do, and if you have been reading our blog, you may notice we have included pies several times. Our mom was a champion pie baker, who was well known for her lemon meringue, which were avidly bid on during the Southside Farm Bureau pie socials when we were young.

In 1978 my mother gave me a wonderful cookbook, The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. It is large, heavy, red, and now the back cover is about to fall off, and my favorite pages are mottled and wrinkled from standing open as I cooked. I may have to replace it soon, but if I do, I am looking for another vintage copy just like mine.

This post I am going to share some of my favorite pie recipes from that cookbook. I have slightly changed some of them, but only to make them a bit better. When I am cooking pies, I try to use only the best ingredients. Butter, whole milk, fresh squeezed lemon juice, etc.

The next two photos are of our pies from last Christmas.
Flaky Pastry
(for one 2 crust pie or two 8 or 9 inch pie crusts)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening (My note: Crisco is best, be sure your shortening is well chilled. This is important!)
iced water

In medium bowl, with fork, stir flour and salt. With pastry blender cut shortening into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with pea-sized pieces.

Sprinkle 5 to 6 tablespoons very cold (iced is best) water, a tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition until pastry is just moist enough to hold together. With hands, shape pastry into two balls (if for one pie, make one ball slightly larger than the other - smaller ball is for top crust). Flatten dough into 1/2 inch thick round disks, wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

I am not going to tell you how to roll or put in the pie plate - but one thing is important, don't overwork the dough, roll it out as quickly as you can, you want to keep it cool.
Sour-Cream Pumpkin Pie

One 9 inch unbaked pie crust

3 eggs, separated
One 16 oz can pumpkin (2 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Early in day or day before serving:

Prepare pie crust with fluted edge, refrigerate. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. In large bowl, with same beaters and with mixer at low speed, beat pumpkin with egg yolks and remaining ingredients until well blended. With wire whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold whites into mixture.
Place pie plate on oven rack; pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust. Bake 10 minute; turn oven control to 350 degrees and bake pie 1 hour and 5 minutes more or until filling is set. Refrigerate.
California Lemon Pie
One 9 inch unbaked pie crust
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
Early in day:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick pie crust with fork; bake only 8 minutes; set aside. Turn oven control to 350 degrees. In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; beating at high speed, gradually sprinkle in 1/2 cup sugar; beat until sugar is completely dissolved. In large bowl, with same beaters and with mixer at medium speed, beat 1/2 cup sugar with butter and egg yolks until well mixed; at low speed, beat in milk, lemon juice, flour and lemon peel. With wire whisk, gently fold whites into yolk mixture; pour into pie crust. Bake pie 35 to 40 minutes until knife inserted about 1 inch in from side comes out clean. Refrigerate.
Cranberry-Nut Pie (this is such a different way to enjoy cranberries - try it, you'll like it!)

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 cups cranberries
1/2 cup dark seedless raisins
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts
2 tablespoons butter
pastry for one 2 crust 9 inch pie

About 2 hours ahead or early in day:
In medium saucepan, stir sugar with cornstarch; stir in 1/4 cup water, corn syrup and lemon peel; over medium heat, heat to boiling. Stir in cranberries, raisins, and walnuts; cover and cook until cranberry skins pop, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool 30 minutes but do not stir while cooling. Meanwhile, prepare pastry.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out half of pastry and line 9 inch pie plate.

Pour cooled cranberry mixture into pie crust. Prepare top crust. (A lattice top looks really nice on this pie if you have the time). Bake 40 minutes or until crust is golden. Serve warm or cold.
Mince Pie (I happen to love mince pie, especially with hard sauce. Most of my family does not. This is the best recipe for non-mince believers, because it has a lot of apples in it, it calms the flavor down somewhat).

One 18 oz jar prepared mincemeat (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups coarsely broken walnuts
2 large apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup brandy or rum (optional -but adds a lot of flavor!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pastry for one 2 crust 9 inch pie
Hard Sauce for garnish

Day before:

In medium bowl, stir first 6 ingredients until well mixed; cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.
About 3 hours before serving:

Roll out half of pastry and line 9 inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Fill with undrained mincemeat mixture.

Add top crust. (You can make a lattice top crust for this - it looks wonderful that way). Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden. Serve warm, topped with Hard Sauce. (recipe follows)

Hard Sauce:

1/3 cup butter softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Early in day:

In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter with sugar until creamy; beat in vanilla. Spoon mixture into serving dish; refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2/3 cup.
Now for the hardest part, which pies to make? Right now I am thinking California Lemon Pie and Sour Cream Pumpkin. But I may add another pie or change my mind. Dare I make mincemeat? (Actually that could be the extra, because afterwards I will bring the leftovers home and eat it all myself - my husband is one of the non-mince folks).
Merry Christmas to all of you out there in blogland. Enjoy your holiday and share it with all of your family and many of your friends.


Heidi Ann said...

California Lemon and Sour Cream Pumpkin sound good to me!!
(Can't recall whether or not I have had that lemon one before? I think I'd remember - you know how fond I am of lemons!)

Susan from The T-Cozy said...

Those pies look absolutely delish! Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!

Midcenturymadam said...

Wow! Your crusts are beautiful. I can almost taste it. I think you should make a mincemeat pie. It's so good for breakfast the morning after. Mmmmmm

Midcenturymadam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorlore said...

I'm sure whatever you bring will be delicious and eaten by all!!!!!

yosemite faith said...

both my gram and grandma made fantastic pies. so did john's mom. i have had failure after failure and haven't attempted to do it in years. i love love mincemeat pie but it must have a hearty flakey crust. i love cranberry walnut pie too. and lemon - nom nom nom. i also love love love what we called 'pie crust cookies'. do you make those tina with your extra dough? if i made good crust - i would make the whole thing into those cookies sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar. YUM! merry merry & happy happy to you and yours tina.

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Wow! Thanks so much for these pie recipes! They sound wonderful! Merry Christmas! Twyla