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May 25, 2010 in PIE, vegetarian2 comments

annnnd…it’s PIE season

the perfect slice of rhubarb pie

It’s asparagus season, it’s baseball season, it’s school music program season, it’s kitten season.

nom nom nom

All of these pale, though, compared to the One Season to Rule Them All.

rhubarb pie, motherfuckers

Pie season. Read more on annnnd…it’s PIE season…

August 4, 2009 in desserts, PIE4 comments

currant chiffon pie

currant chiffon pie

Oh man. You have to try this. Currant chiffon pie. If you don’t have currants, sub another juice like lemon, orange, or grape or raspberry or…anything. Just make this pie, once in your life. It’s creamy, fluffy, melty, and tart, the perfect foil for a flaky pastry crust or graham cracker crust.

Seriously. Dude. Eat this pie and die happy.

currant chiffon pie, in the pan

This pie will drive you to eat when you’re not hungry. One slice is good, two better, three divine. Consume only in public or with other safeguards nearby.

reverse engineering a mid-twentieth century recipe

Grandma (Dad’s mom) used to make this currant pie, in a convenience-food version using lemon Jell-O and Dream Whip. I wanted to recreate it using less-processed foods, and it was a bit of a challenge at first.

First, we always called it currant cream pie.

Reseaching cream pies on the internet taught me three things:

1. Always turn on SafeSearch when googling phrases like “cream pie.” I cannot emphasize this enough.

2. It wasn’t a cream pie. It was a chiffon pie.

currant-gelatin mixture, ready for the fridge

3. No currant juice-specific pie recipes exist anywhere on the intertubes. They all used whole berries. Which didn’t make sense to me, as currants have nasty raspberry-like seeds. And you know what I think of those.

I turned to a cookbook I always seem to forget about: the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. It’s not trendy, vegetarian, whole grain, or frou frou, so it languishes on the shelf. What it does have, however, is basic recipes for everything, in spades. And it had a few chiffon pie recipes. The ones closest to my needs were a lemon chiffon pie and an orange chiffon pie.

The first currant chiffon pie. It looks much like the second one, except the second didn't last long enough to get a whole-pie pic

Currants are not as tart as lemons, nor as sweet as orange juice, so I had to play with the sugar amounts a bit. The recipes also differed in that one called for 4 eggs, one for 3. So I did a trial run, with 4 eggs and a cup of sugar. It filled a 10-inch pie plate to the brim, but was a bit sweet and a bit eggy.

So I tried again, with the result here, using 3 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar. Dad and I agreed you could cut another 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar for more tartness.

on the bright side, you’ll master beating egg whites and whipping cream

The dry ingredients for currant chiffon pie.

Chiffon pies rely on gelatin for stability…

Beaten egg whites for the currant chiffon pie, ready to be folded in

Whipped cream for currant chiffon pie, ready to be folded into the currant-gelatin-egg whites mixture

…and most add some Look! The egg whites are folded in!

In this recipe you’ll do all those, plus Read more on currant chiffon pie…

fresh blueberry pie

i had to rip this out of someone's hands to get a pic before the whole pie was gone

Blueberry pie ranks right up there. Number two after sour cherry pie, for sure. I’d always had blueberry pie that was baked, but the blueberries this year are so fabulous — large, and the perfect sweet-tart combination — that I wanted to do one that was more strawberry pie-style.

the blueberry and cornstarch mixture just as it begins to cook

In other words, blueberries mixed with a thickening agent and set inside a prebaked shell of some sort. So the flavor of the fresh berries would burst through.

the cooked and thickened blueberry mixture. time to add in the fresh ones!

KAF came through! That’s the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. Remember that, because I’m not going to repeat it.

cool, we've dumped in the fresh blueberries!

The original recipe in KAF called for 1 cup of sugar. Based on scientific evidence — Mom had just made a fresh blueberry pie using another recipe calling for 3/4 cup sugar and turns out is was JUST. TOO. SWEET. — I cut it to 1/4 cup. I don’t know why you’d want more, unless you’re some kind of stereotypical sugar-loving animal whose name escapes me at the moment. Plus if you use the walnut-oat crust, you’re getting some more sugar there. Read more on fresh blueberry pie…

August 23, 2009 in desserts, gluten-free, PIE, vegetarian23 comments

walnut-oat pie crust

mmm, gluten-free walnut-oat pie or tart crust, ready for your abuse

Now there’s a mouthful. Know why? Because it’s so versatile. It works for the gluten-free folks. It works for the pie folks. It works for the tart folks. It works for the don’t-make-me-get-out-the-rolling-pin folks.

Even better, this walnut-oat pie crust recipe is just a prelude to the fresh blueberry pie I made it with, coming up soon. Thought I’d get you going with this amazing crust first, because it will work with more than just blueberry pies. It’ll work with cheesecake, other pies, all sorts of tarts.

And it’s press-in-the-pan easy. Read more on walnut-oat pie crust…