Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let Them Eat Pie

Finally!  My moon flowers are starting to bloom.  I guess after a long, hot summer maybe plants enjoy a bit of cooler weather, too.  I was out in the dark garden a couple of nights ago and saw this beauty, which I would have missed if sunset had been any later.

It is in the cooler weather that I enjoy cooking things in the oven.  The fragrance of pies, cakes, cookies, stews, roasts, even a simple baked potato (yes, they are better in the oven than the microwave) - the list goes on and on and each in its own way makes the house smell wonderful.

When I wrote the post about my apple pie, several folks told me that they just couldn't make pie crust.  All I can tell you is keep trying, really, it's that easy (hopefully you can still eat your mistakes).  But it's one of those cooking lessons that usually works once you get the hang of it.  The recipe I use was given to me long ago and far away, and I have used and trusted and played with it for years.  Many thanks to my Charlotte, North Carolina friend, Bertie, (circa 1979), she was kind to me when I was the new kid in town and for that she will always hold a special place in my memories.

"Easy" Pie Crust:

For a bottom crust (double recipe for top & bottom)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (a butter and lard mix works best)
Ice cold water

Sift flour and salt. 

Blend in shortening until there is no loose flour left in bowl. 

Add 3 tablespoons of cold water, mix until water is absorbed.

You may need to add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water, add each spoonful slowly, mixing well after each. (I usually add 5 tablespoons.) 

Handle the dough as little as possible. 

Place ball of dough on floured surface.  I work with a piece of freezer paper under everything and then roll out the dough on the freezer paper - makes for an easy clean up.

Roll. (Sprinkle flour on your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to it.) 

Place in 8 or 9 inch pie pan. 

 Follow directions with pie recipe on cooking the crust.  Usually with cream pies you cook the crust first, and with all others you cook the crust as the pie cooks.

The pears were bought three days ago, I wanted to make sure they were ripe.  Peeled, sliced, and covered with a three tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and a few dashes of ground ginger and cinnamon.  I was going to try fresh ginger but forgot to buy some, so I just went with the powdered spice.  These waited patiently for me in the bowl while I made the crust. 

Before dumping the fruit into the crust I added:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

(It was about here that I remembered to preheat the oven - so I turned on the oven about 5 minutes before I put the pie in (I'm telling you this so you can see that even if you don't do everything 'perfect' you can still make a pretty good pie).  When I remember, I like to preheat the oven for about 15 minutes.)

I mixed all this up and poured into the pie crust, then I took a heaping tablespoon of butter and dabbed it across the top of all this.

I only made 'one' pie crust, rolled it thin, and then pulled the edges up. Somewhere I've seen this called 'rustic.' I like that. I'm using all the dough and this is an easy finish. 

I sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon on the top.  Then popped it in the oven - 425F for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes it was bubbly on top with just a little brown on the edges... Perfect.

I took it out of the oven to cool.  After dinner, Mr. J&C and I each enjoyed a slice with a little vanilla ice cream.

We didn't eat it all.  I have plans to have some with my breakfast coffee.. and maybe with my afternoon tea....



TexWisGirl said...

the pie and ice cream is evil! :)

Jan said...

Thank you, Joy~~~I just may try to make my own crust once more! Looks delicious ;)

marigold jam said...

Sounds delicious and I love rustic perhaps because I don't do perfect!! My mother used to make lovely pastry and kept me supplied with it for the freezer as mine is either very good or awful. Now of course I either make my own or use shop bought. That white flower looks so pretty in the dark.

Robin Larkspur said...

Beautiful looking pie...I like the idea of rustic, so you don't need to worry about the pie looking like Martha's!
Your step by step is helpful.
I wonder if I will get motivated to try again?
I love your pie plate too, it's gorgeous.
And your moon flower is lovely. Since we had a killing frost a few days ago, all growing and blooming has ceased here.
But the leaves are beautiful.

Mary said...

I love a rustic style French and easy!
Your's looks fabulous.

Imagine just now seeing your Moonflowers, wow, they are late starting. I've seen a couple recently but both them and the Morning Glories are now history here - had to pull them off the house/porch yesterday as we leave Sat. and don't want to come back to a frost damaged mess!

Hugs - Mary

Joolz said...

As you say, it takes a while to find a recipe that works for you. I have been married for 26 years and only recently made a pie and was happy with the crust.

I like the free form look of your pie and I bet it was delicious!

Cheers - Joolz

catmint said...

yummy looking. I must admit I don't bake, I do plan to, but somehow haven't yet got round to it. obviously low priority, would take me away from the garden. The moon flower photo is divine.

HolleyGarden said...

Oh, it looks good. And for breakfast!!! Sounds like my kind of breakfast! ;) You moon flower is beautiful. I think they are some of the prettiest blooms of all flowers.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a wonderful fall treat! And rustic is ALWAYS better!!! :)