Blueberry Pie

After about a month of not posting too much, I am back.  I finished up the most difficult quarter of school I have ever had.  Yesterday I graduated, though I still have a couple of things left to do until I actually get my diploma in the mail. I am feeling pretty good.  I will be back posting regularly now, so get ready for some fun new recipes and such.

Yesterday after my graduation, my parents hosted a lovely dinner for me, my family, and my in-laws.  It was delicious.  I made a blueberry pie to bring down and below is the recipe.  The filling is from Dorie Greenspan, with a couple small adjustments.  I used my basic pie crust because I like butter crusts much better than shortening crusts, which was what she suggested.  I don’t think I had ever had a homemade blueberry pie before.  They are so much better than store bought ones or frozen ones.  The pie was a big hit with everyone (except my mom, but she doesn’t like blueberries–I brought down a raspberry bundt cake too, which I will probably post about later, which she liked a lot).

Blueberry Pie

Use can use any double pie dough recipe really.  I used the one that is on my basic recipes tab.  You could even use a pre-made crust if you want–this recipe would be really easy then.   Roll the dough out and keep in the fridge until ready to put the pie together.

The filling:

2 pints of blueberries, washed and make sure the stems are removed

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup

pinch of salt

lemon zest from 1/2-1 lemon

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Mix everything together in a bowl except for the bread crumbs and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie shell. Then put the berry mixture over the bread crumbs.

Put the top crust on this.  Make a few slits in the top.

Pain the top of the pie with an egg wash.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.  Drop the temp to 375 and bake for another 30 minutes.  If the crust is getting too brown put a tinfoil tent over it.

Let the pie cool at least a half an hour before serving.

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Strawberry Pie

It is strawberry season finally.  I bought a two pound box of them at the store and then wondered what I should do with so many berries.  We were having our friends Anna and Chris over for dinner, and I thought it might be nice to finish the meal with a strawberry pie, which I had never made before.  I looked up a bunch of recipes, but nothing struck my fancy.  I ended up taking a few ideas from some different recipes and making up my own.  I was pleased with the end product.  It is not a particularly quick pie to make, but it screams summer.

To begin:

Make and pre-bake a pie crust.  You can use my basic pie crust recipe, or use your own.  You could even use a store bought one if you want.  I used a butter/flour crust, but I think a graham  cracker crust would work well too.

The glaze:

2 cups sliced strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

optional: lemon juice and/or zest

Cook over medium heat until thickened.  It should take about 10 minutes.  Set aside and let cool.

The Cream Cheese filling:

4 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 sugar

zest of one lemon

juice of one lemon

Put all ingredients into a stand mixer and mix until combined and smooth.

To assemble the pie: 

Spread the cream cheese filling on the baked pie shell.

Hull enough strawberries to cover the bottom of the pie plate.  I stood mine up straight with the points in the air.  Once they are all in place on the cream cheese filling, spoon the cooled glaze on top of the berries.

Put it into the fridge for an hour to set up the glaze.

 

 

 

Asian Dinner Party: Spring Rolls, Steamed Dumplings, and Key Lime Pie

Yesterday we had our friends Caleb and Kara over for dinner.  As you can see from the photo to your left, Lucy did not want me to spend my time making the meal.  So I strapped her to me, which is not the easiest way to make a meal, and started cooking.  Here I am making spring rolls, and she had finally fallen asleep. Despite having a baby strapped to me, it was a very fun evening.  I had only met Kara a few times before so it was great to get to know her better.

For the dinner we made the yellow Thai curry that Alec and I like so much.  Here is the link to that: https://meteaandlucy.com/2011/04/05/yellow-coconut-curry/

To accompany the main dish we made vegetarian spring rolls and pork steamed dumplings.  To finish off the meal I meal I did a key lime pie.  I have been making key lime pies for a number of years and slowly improving on it.  I think I might have perfected it last night (not to sound too arrogant about my pie or anything).

To be honest, I made too much food like usual.  You would not need to make all these things for a dinner.  You could probably have a nice appetizer dinner with spring rolls and dumplings for example.

Spring Rolls:

This is a recipe you can easily modify according to taste.

Ingredients:

Spring Roll Wrappers (You can find these at Asian grocery stores or the ethnic food aisle at your grocery store.  They are large, hard, translucent discs)

Warm water in a large dish

Thin rice noodles

Cilantro

Green onions (cut lengthwise)

Radishes (cut very thing)

Carrots (I use a peeler to cut carrot ribbons)

Avocado

Firm tofu (cut into long strips)

Method:

Take the hard wrappers and soak them in warm water until they are soft and flexible.  It will take about 30 seconds to a minute depending on the water temp.  Move the wrapper to a large cutting board and lay it flat.  Put the fillings in the center of the wrapper:

To fold them up I do it like they roll burritos at Chipotle ( I am guessing most of you know what I am talking about here).  So you take the bottom of the shell and bring it up over the filling, then fold the sides in, then roll it up.  Make sure all the folds are nice and tight.

I served them with soy sauce and Sirachi sauce.  You could serve them with any number of Asian sauces though.

Steamed Dumplings:

I had made these years ago when Alec and I were first dating.  It is a recipe I modified from a Thai cookbook called Easy Thai (the recipes are not as easy as the name would imply).

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground pork (cooked and slightly cooled)

1 egg

1 small can of water chestnuts

1 carrot

A sprig or so of cilantro

1 dried red hot chili (you could leave this out if you don’t want them to be spicy)

Salt and pepper to taste

Wonton wrappers

Method:

Take all the ingredients and put them in the food processor, and blend until nice and smooth.

Once it is blended you are ready to fill the wrappers.  I put about 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper.  I line the outside edges with water and then seal them up.

I don’t really have any advice on rolling them up because mine did not look all that great.

To cook them, fill a large pan with water and put a colinder in it.  If you have a steamer, use that.  I do not have a steamer and this worked fine.  Put about 5 dumplings in at a time and cover.  It will take a few minutes to cook them.  You will be able to tell when they are done.  The wrappers get kinda translucent looking.  You can always eat one or two just to make sure though!

Key Lime Pie:

I really hyped this up, but it is good.  I originally found a recipe online.  Since then I have drastically changed it.  I think the real trick is using a flour/butter crust instead of a graham cracker crust.  I know this sounds weird because they are always made with graham cracker crusts, but I swear this is better.

The pie crust:

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sticks of butter (cut into 16 pieces and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes)

1/3 cup very cold water with 3 tablespoons of sour cream or full fat yogurt mixed in–it really doesn’t matter which one

Method:

Put everything except the water mixture into the food processor and pulse until blended.  Add the water mixture bit by bit until it is the right crust consistency.

Once it is mixed, divide into two.  Shape into a 5 inch disc which will be about 1 inch thick.  You only need one crust for this dessert, so put one in the fridge to cool and put the other in the freezer to keep for later (when you want to use it just take it out and thaw it in the fridge over night).

Roll it out and put it in a a glass pyrex pie plate.  Here is an easy pie crust tip I got from Jaime Oliver.  If you aren’t into rolling out pie crust, cut the dough into thin strips and press it into the pie plate.  It works just fine.  Cover the shell with greased tin foil and fill with pie weights.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.

While the pie crust is baking make the filling.

Filling Ingredients:

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup lime juice (I used to use key lime, but I can’t tell the difference between key and regular limes.  Regular limes are much cheaper and it is much easier juicing big limes instead of all those little limes.  Make sure you use fresh limes juice not any of that bottles stuff).

Zest of one or two limes depending on size

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.

Once the pie shell comes out of the oven, drop the oven temp to 325, fill the crust with the filling, and put it back into the oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes.

Let the pie cool until room temp and then put in the fridge.  When you are ready to eat top with whipped cream.  I whip my own cream because it is really good.  For a pie this size put about 1 cup of whipping cream and one tablespoon of white sugar.  Whip until thick.