Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet Potato Pie

In my search for a true southern recipe for Sweet Potato pie, a sweet lady from Alabama shared this cherished family recipe with me. It was her grandmothers recipe and it is wonderful! I thank her for her generosity in sharing it.

Sweet Potato Pie
1- 9” unbaked pie shell
1 ½ c mashed sweet potatoes
1 Tbs butter
1/3 c sugar
3 eggs (well beaten)
1 ½ c milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp allspice

Boil sweet potatoes until tender. (or you may drain and rinse canned sweet potatoes, but fresh is best!) When cool, peel and mash to make 1 ½ cups. Add butter, sugar, eggs and remaining ingredients. Pour into un-baked pie shell and bake at 425* for 15 minutes. Then lower oven temp. to 350* and continue baking 30 min. or till done.

Mom's Sour Cream Apple Pie



Oh my, this is an incredible pie. In fact, my sister had it served at her wedding reception, it's that good! Yup, my dear mom made them all from scratch but, hey is there any other way? Especially with a mom that bakes the way she does! Anyhow, this is creamy and delicious, You need to grate the apples, don't cut them in chunks like a traditional apple pie, it won't be the same. This pie is perfect for any time of year! We had it served warm with vanilla ice cream for Thanksgiving :)

Mom's Sour Cream Apple Pie
3 c grated apples (best with yellow delicious)
3/4 c sugar mixed with 3 Tbs flour
1/2 t salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Peel apples and grate into a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together and then stir in grated apples. Pour apple mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spoon on crumb topping (recipe below)

Crumb topping:
With pastry blender mix until crumbly:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar

Bake 325*F for 40 min or until set.

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

I do not remember exactly where I got this recipe, maybe from a magazine at the doctor's office or something like that. But let me tell you, this is a simply divine pie! I would suggest it for a spring or summer dessert, but I made it one year at Thanksgiving and it was gone in a flash! I have tried it with lime, but lemon is still my fave!

Sour Cream Lemon Pie
Makes one 9” pie
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. corn starch
1 cup Milk
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon peel
¼ c lemon juice
½ stick (¼ cup) butter cut in small pieces
1 cup sour cream
Cool whip for garnish

Mix cornstarch & sugar in medium size pan, whisk in milk till smooth, then whisk in yolks till blended, stir in lemon peel and juice
Add butter & whisk continually over medium heat about 5 – 7 minutes till boiling. Remove from heat and stir one minute longer. Cover surface with plastic wrap to keep skin from forming, Cool to room temp.
Stir in sour cream till well blended pour into pie shell, cover loosely and refrigerate 6 hours till set. Or up to 2 days
Just before serving garnish with cool whip, lemon slices and mint sprigs.

Grandma Miller's Famous Pumpkin Pie

This is a cherished family recipe. My Grandma was a wonderful cook and was known for her pumpkin pie. This pumpkin pie is different than your traditional rich and spicy pumpkin pie but it is so delicious! It is more of a pumpkin custard pie with a touch of cinnamon. Her original recipe called for 9 turkey eggs. She used the turkey eggs because she said it made it bake up lighter, but since turkey eggs are harder to come by, she suggested using a dozen chicken eggs and I think it turns out delicious just the same.
Enjoy!
Grandma Miller's Famous Pumpkin Custard Pie
Makes 4- 9"pies

1 29oz can of Pumpkin
1 pint half & half
6 cups Milk
2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 4 Tbs Cornstarch
1 Tbs Vanilla
12 eggs
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon to taste

Place pumpkin in a heavy saucepan. cook and stir to caramelize the natural sugars in the pumpkin. (About 10 minutes) then add part of the milk. In another bowl, beat the eggs lightly and add sugar and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Add pumpkin and half and half. Mix well.
Pour into pie crust, fill FULL. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Bake at 4258 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325* for about 15-25 minutes or till custard is done in the middle but still very soft. Pie will set as it cools.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tips for making a flaky pie crust!

My mom makes the most wonderful flaky pie crust and home made pies! A couple of years ago she did a class on making a flaky pie crust and sent me her notes. I love a good pie and my mom has spoiled me with some amazing pies. I will share some pie recipes with you soon, but for now, here are her tips on making a flaky pie crust!




TIPS FOR MAKING A FLAKY PIE CRUST

· ALWAYS USE VERY COLD LARD AND LIQUID

· USE A BOWL THAT IS MUCH LARGER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED SO IT IS EASIER TO MIX.

· CUT LARD INTO CHUNKS BEFORE BLENDING INTO FLOUR.

· USE A PASTRY BLENDER. BLENDING IN LARD TO THE SIZE OF A LIMA BEAN.

· MAKE SURE YOU MIX IN ALL THE FLOUR ON THE BOTTOM BY USING THE PASTRY BLENDER TO SCRAPE ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE BOWL TO BRING THE FLOUR UP FROM THE BOTTOM.

· WHEN STIRRING IN LIQUID, BLEND GENTLY WITH A FORK. I LIKE TO USE A LARGE SERVING SIZE FORK FOR THIS.

· IT IS EASIEST IF YOU USE A HEAVY PIECE OF PLASTIC TO ROLL YOUR DOUGH OUT ON. I JUST CUT AN 18-INCH SQUARE. YOU CAN BUY IT BY THE HALF YARD IN SOME FABRIC STORES. OR YOU CAN USE A PIECE OF PLASTIC TABLECLOTH. PURCHASE ½ YARD AND USE ONE FOR YOURSELF AND GIVE ONE TO A BEST FRIEND THAT YOU WILL WANT TO TEACH HOW TO MAKE PERFECT PIE CRUST!

· HANDLE DOUGH VERY, VERY TENDERLY USING A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF FLOUR SO IT WON’T STICK TO PLASTIC SHEET.

· PLACE A PIECE OF DOUGH ABOUT THE SIZE OF A BASEBALL ON TO THE PASTRY SHEET, BARELY HANDLING IT SO YOU WON’T TOUGHEN DOUGH BY MIXING IN THE LARD BY FORMING IT INTO A TIGHT BALL.

· SPRINKLE A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF FLOUR ON TOP OF THE PIECE OF DOUGH SO IT WON’T STICK TO THE ROLLING PIN.

· GENTLY FLATTEN THE DOUGH WITH THE PALM OF YOUR HAND.

· ROLL OUT IN FOUR DIRECTIONS, NOT BACK AND FORTH. DO NOT USE THE HANDLES ON THE SIDE OF THE ROLLING PIN, RATHER USE THE PALMS OF YOUR HANDS TO ROLL THE DOUGH, BUT ONLY PUSH GENTLY.

· ROLL ONCE FORWARD, ONCE BACK (FROM THE CENTER) THEN, TURN THE PASTRY SHEET AROUND TO REPEAT THE FORWARD AND BACK MOTION AGAIN. BY TURNING THE PASTRY SHEET AROUND IT IS EASIER TO MAKE THE DOUGH INTO A CIRCLE A LITTLE LARGER THAN YOUR PIE PAN.

· WHEN THE DOUGH IS ROLLED OUT, WE WANT TO SEE THE PIECES OF LARD. THIS IS WHAT MAKES A FLAKY CRUST.

· WITH PLASTIC SHEET BRING ROLLED DOUGH AROUND THE ROLLING PIN AND GENTLY ROLL ONTO PIE PAN. HOLD THE ROLLING PIN HANDLE WITH YOUR HAND AND ALSO HOLD THE PIN WITH YOUR FIRST FINGER SO IT WILL STAY IN PLACE SO YOU CAN CONTROL THE DOUGH TO ROLL IN ON TO THE PIE PLATE

· PUSH EDGES INTO PAN AND CUT EDGE WITH A FORK.

· DO NOT MAKE THE SCRAPS INTO A BALL, RATHER JUST GENTLY PLACE ON TOP OF YOUR NEXT AND REPEAT PROCESS.

· WE TREAT PASTRY DOUGH THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF BREAD DOUGH. THE LESS WE WORK WITH IT THE MORE TENDER AND DELICIOUS THE CRUST.


Tender Pie Crust

Mix well in large bowl: 5 cups flour & 2 tsp salt

Mix in the salt with your pastry blender.
Cut up 1 lb COLD lard into flour.
Using a pastry blender blend till lard pieces are about the size of a lima bean

Pour 1 c milk in a liquid measuring cup and add 1 ½ tbs apple cider vinegar, stir.

Drizzle ½ of the milk over the flour/lard mixture and mix gently with a fork.

Add the rest and mix GENTLY until it just starts sticking together. Add more milk if needed. Dough should just stick together. Do not over mix.

THIS IS ENOUGH DOUGH TO MAKE 6 PIE SHELLS.
I make them and stack them together and freeze them for future use. PLACE IN A PLASTIC BAG OF WRAP IN FOIL. YOU ARE THEN READY TO MAKE A PIE WITH ALL THE MESS DONE AHEAD OF TIME!

**I LIKE TO MAKE A LARGE AMOUNT OF CRUMB TOPPING FOR MOST OF MY PIES SO I MAKE A LARGE AMOUNT AND STORE IT IN THE FREEZER IN A ZIP LOCK BAG, SO I AM EASLIY READY TO MAKE PIES AND HAVE ALREADY MAKE CRUMB TOPPING AND THE MESS OF MAKING THE CRUSTS ONCE IN 6 PIES.

I ALSO SCRAPE THE LITTLE BIT OF LEFT OVER DOUGH INTO A PILE ADD ALITTLE FLOUR TO IT AND CUT IT INTO SMALL PIECES AND MIX IT IN WITH MY CRUMB TOPPING. IT MAKES IT MORE DELICIOUS AND THEN THERE IS NO WASTE.

Crumb Topping

3 cups flour
3 cups brown sugar
1 ½ sticks cold butter or margarine
Blend well with a pastry blender till all is blended in to a nice crumbly mixture. Store in a gallon size zip lock bag and store in the freezer.

I usually sprinkle on about 2 cups of crumb topping to each pie. If you want to make an apple crisp you can use this topping for that and if you want add about ¾ c oatmeal to about 2 c topping crumbs. YUM!!

WHEN I AM READY TO MAKE A PIE, FROM THE STACK OF FROZEN PIE SHELLS, I JUST POP APART THE AMOUNT I WANT TO USE. IT WILL THAW OUT AS YOU MAKE YOUR FILLING. THEN MAKE THE FANCY EDGE AND FILL.

IF YOU DECIDE YOU WANT TO MAKE A PIE WITH A CRUST ON TOP, ADD CHUNKS OF BUTTER OR MARGARINE, MAYBE 4 OR 5 OVER THE TOP OF YOUR FILLING, THEN JUST PUT THE FROZEN ONE ON TOP OF THE PIE WITH FILLING, LET IT THAW ENOUGH TO HANDLE AND MAKE THE FANCY EDGE. I LIKE TO EITHER BRUSH THE TOP WITH MILK OR SOME BEATEN EGG. THIS MAKES THE PIE CRUST BAKE GOLDEN AND SO BEAUTIFUL.

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A PREBAKED PIE SHELL FOR A CREAM/PUDDING PIE, PRICK THE BOTTOM AND SIDES OF THE THAWED SHELL WITH A FORK, MAKE THE FANCY EDGE.

PLACE AN EMPTY PIE TIN INSIDE THE UNBAKED CRUST. THIS HELPS IT TO STAY FORMED SINCE IT CAN’T FALL INTO THE CENTER WHILE BAKING. ABOUT HALF WAY THROUGH THE BAKING TIME YOU CAN REMOVE THE EMPTY PIE PAN ON TOP TO FINISH THE BAKING. IT USUALLY TAKES ABOUT 20 MINUTES depending on your oven, TO BAKE A PIE SHELL FOR CREAM PIES. Let cool completely before adding cold pudding.

ALWAYS BAKE PIES ON A RACK IN THE CENTER OF THE OVEN RATHER THAN WITH THE RACK ON THE BOTTOM. DEPENDING UPON THE SIZE OF YOUR OVEN YOU CAN BAKE 2-4 PIES AT A TIME.

DO NOT BAKE PIES ON MORE THAN ONE SHELF.

IF YOU ARE MAKING A PUMPKIN OR CUSTARD PIE, PLACE THE EMPTY PIE SHELLS ON THE OVEN RACK, THEN POUR IN THE LIQUID PIE MIXTURE. THIS IS MUCH EASIER TO CONTROL WITHOUT SPILLING THE LIQUID. GENTLY PUSH IN THE RACK SO AS NOT TO SPILL.

I USUALLY LINE THE BOTTOM OF MY OVEN WITH FOIL SO IF IT SPILLS OVER IS MUCH EASIER TO CLEAN UP.

I BAKE ALL OF MY PIES AT 350* EVEN THO A RECIPE MY SAY 400* OR 425* BECAUSE THE PASTRY GETS WAY TOO DARK. SOME OF THE RECIPES THAT I GAVE YOU ARE BAKED AT 325* THIS MAKES FOR A VERY TENDER CRUST FOR THOES PARTICULAR KINDS OF RECIPES.

IF YOU WANT TO USE PART WHEAT FLOUR OR ALL WHEAT FLOUR YOU CAN, BUT BECAUSE OF THE GROUND KERNALS IT WILL BE MORE HEAVY, BUT VERY LUSCIOUS.


This is a recipe using Crisco. …

PERFECT PIE CRUST

4 c flour
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 ¾ c solid shortening (do not use oil, lard, margarine or butter)
½ c water
1 T white or cider vinegar
1 large egg

Put first 3 ingredients in large bowl and mix well with fork.
Add shortening and mix well with fork till crumbly.
Combine the two mixtures, stirring with fork until all are moistened.
Divide into 5 portions and make into a ball.
Wrap each portion in plastic and chill at least ½ hour.
Roll on slightly floured board.
Bake 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees in preheated oven. For a tart, bake 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees.
Make 5 pie shells or 2/1/2 double piecrusts.

-Marcia Clark

Monday, November 3, 2008

POPCORN!


Such a great time of year for popcorn! I have 3 GREAT ones to share - So Fun! EASY! YUMMY!

Chocolate Carmel Popcorn
14 ounces caramels
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
12 cups air popped popcorn - 2 cups un-popped
1 cup peanuts or other nut of choice
4 squares finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate or 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
Directions
Preheat oven to 300°.
Microwave carmels, butter and water in a microwave safe bowl on high for 2-3 minutes or until carmels are completely melted. Stir after each minute of heating.
Combine popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl.
Drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn and peanuts.
Mix to coat.
Spread popcorn out on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips, spread over baked popcorn mixture and stir to combine.
Spread popcorn out on waxed paper to cool.
You may need to break some of the pieces into smaller clusters.
Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to one week.


Marshmallow/ Carmel Corn -- E A S Y
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 bag of marshmallows (big)

Melt together - start with butter
pour over 2-3 bags of popped microwave popcorn (take out kernels)


Peanut butter/ Carmel Corn - - by Marcia Clark (Our family favorite)
1 cup of Karo Syrup
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of peanut butter

Melt together - start with syrup
pour over 2-3 bags of popped microwave popcorn (take out kernels)