Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Pies

Than and I love pies. Well, Than LOVES pies and I just love them. Than likes to encourage my pie-making by working pie ingredients into almost every grocery list and dropping little hints that I should make one. He also put a request for pie recipes on my online family Christmas list (it has been removed) and will say things like "You know what would be really great right now? Pie!"  Don't you worry - Than gets PLENTY of pie. The thing is, he is also a great pie-maker. On occasion we have bake-offs, which is great because then everyone ends up a winner and we both get to eat a lot of pie. I try to NOT make us a pie every week because eventually we would weigh 300 lbs each. This summer we have made several pies, and I managed to photograph two of them before we ate them.
Than made a strawberry rhubarb pie in July. I don't like rhubarb or hot strawberries, and wasn't that excited about it. What an idiot I am! The pie was delicious (especially since I didn't have to make it) and we ate it so fast I didn't get another photograph. Don't worry, we didn't eat it all - we gave some to the neighbors!

Than's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie Crust
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
6 T shortening
5 to 6 T ice water

Mix first 4 ingredients with pastry cutter until small, even clumps form. Add ice water 1 T at a time until dough begins to ball. Roll into 2 ball and flatten into disks. Wrap separately and refrigerate. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out first disk and place in bottom of pie plate. Roll out second disk and cut into strips for lattice top.

1 1/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
pinch salt
1 tsp orange zest
1 lb fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 c halved strawberries
2 T butter

Mix sugar through strawberries. Place in pie plate. Dot with 2 T butter. Place lattice on top of pie. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 and bake for an additional 50 minutes or until bubbly.

On the way back from GJ we stopped in Palisades for some peaches (isn't that like a law this time of year?). I made a peach pie as soon as we got home and I'm afraid it didn't even last a week. There are 6 more peaches in the fridge and Than is already asking for a second pie. I am resisting, but only because it is too hot to run the oven (thank goodness!).

Than makes pies very differently than I do. He carefully chooses and then follows a recipe, executing each step exactly as written. No deviations, no getting creative. I have a different method. I use a tried and true pastry recipe from Betty Crocker (2 c flour, 2/3 c shortening, 1 tsp salt, mix and add 4-5 T ice water until ball forms) that I slap together and roll out immediately with no chilling. I then make a fruit filling using whatever is on hand (apples, peaches, cherries, combo, etc.). I add some combination of sugar/brown sugar/agave syrup/cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla/juice/flour/tapioca/whatever else I have on hand to the fruit until I get a constancy and smell/taste that I like. Then I toss it in the oven at 350 and bake until it smells good. I explained this method to Than and it didn't sit too well. The thought that the unknown could possibly result in a ruined pie was just too much to take. Of course,  I reminded him, when was the last time I made a "bad" pie?   We love making pie, eating pie, and most of all, sharing pie! Come visit us and bring your favorite pie recipe - we'll have a bake-off!

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