Monday, January 30, 2012


Shannon is a legendary pie maker at my office. She retired several years ago but she had a very interesting background. She was a high school home economics teacher and she and her husband ran a cafe in Oregon. She would get up very early and make pies for the cafe. In fact she made over 4,000 pies in 4-1/2 years for their business, which makes 52 pies sound wimpy. She and her husband came to Utah and started working for Reclamation. She and her husband were bright spots at our office. Although she no longer made pies for the cafe, she brought pies to work which were incredible. There were so many people interested in her pies she held pie classes in her home. Kerry and I attended it twice, she is truly a master pie maker. I've tried to incorporate a lot of her hints and tips and we use several of her recipes. However, I'll never come close to her pie making, I've decided it is more art than science.

Shannon and the DOI CUPCA Group
Some of Shannon's tricks of the trade
When making a cream pie, never use non-cook pie filling.
Always use a Pyrex glass pie plate it browns up the crust.
Avoid using canned "pie fillings", instead of cherries in a thick syrup use cherries packed in water.
Libby's brand pumpkin filling is the best.
For thickening apples use cornstarch, for everything else use tapioca.
Use wax paper over cream pies to store in the refrigerator.
Danish Dessert can be used as a glaze.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

California Raisin Maple Crunch Pie (5 Stars)

California Raisin Maple Crunch Pie

Pcan Crunch

Making the crust

Making the filling

I decided to take pie making up a notch so I joined the American Pie Council. Turns out that the Council holds a pie festival and pie championship every year. I just received my first newsletter with some great recipes. This one is by Patricia Lapiezo who won first place in the Amateur Division California Raisin Category in 2009. The picture looks great.

Crust: Pecan Crunch
In the Oven
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
6 Tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Serving time
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup of crushed pecan granola bars
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butterscotch flavored chips
1 cup California raisins

For crust, combine dry ingredients and mix. Add shortening then mix until coarse pea-sized chunks. Add buttermilk 1 teaspoon at a time. Chill for 30 minutes.

For filling, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup and beat until blended. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs and beat. Add crushed granola bars, pecans, butterscotch chips, and raisins and stir. Turn into crust shell. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden.

Monday, January 23, 2012

National Pie Day - January 23rd

Of course everyone knows that January 23rd is National Pie Day. Just check out the American Pie Council if you don't believe me. We were looking for a way to celebrate and Natalie decided she could use it to teach fractions in her 5th grade class. I agreed to bring the pies and since homemade food cannot be brought into school, I ordered them at Village Inn. When I went to pick them up they had just put them in the oven so I had to pick out of the pies they had on hand, 2 cherry, 1 apple, 1 sugarless apple, and 1 triple berry. They actually gave me a 30% discount because they blew our order. I found out that Village Inn is the top winner at the American Pie Council pie competition in the "Commercial Category."Abby, Mariel, and I went to Natalie's class and served pie to 26 kids.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grasshopper Pie (2 Stars)

Grasshopper Pie

Why is it called Grasshopper Pie? I searched and found that there was some form of Grasshopper Pie in the Philipines which I wont go into. This version of the pie came onto the scene in the 1950's maybe as a spin-off of a popular drink. Pie recipes include Creme de Menthe, an alcohol syrup in drinks. We tried a substitute using peppermint extract and it made the whole house smell like peppermints.It was Natalie's birthday and she was a good sport to let me make her a birthday pie.
Natalie and Birthday Pie

Crust: Oreo crust

Creme de Menthe syrup substitute:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
12 teaspoons peppermint extract
Karly, Pie, and Meteorology?

Combine water and sugar in a pan and boil, then add peppermint extract.


6-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup creme de menthe substitute
1 cup whipping cream
three drops green food coloring
Whipped cream for garnish
chocolate curls for garnish

Spencer and Natalie
In large saucepan, combine marshmallows and milk. Cook over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and cool, stirring several times while cooling. Add creme de menthe. Whip cream and fold into marshmallow mixture. Add food coloring. Pour into crust. Chill 2 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Razanna Cream Pie (3 Stars)

Razanna Cream

Bottom Crust
We have been searching for unique pie recipes and this one sounded interesting. It's a banana cream pie with a raspberry glaze from the Lion House Pie book. It takes a while to make these cream pies and I get tired of standing so I rolled the computer chair to the stove. I know it sounds like the lazy-man's method to pie making and Kerry thought it was pretty funny too. I'm thinking about getting a cook-stool to avoid the teasing.

Crust: Buttermilk bottom crust


Cooking the filling
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup half and half
1 Tablespoon butter
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/8 tespoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 bananas, sliced
Raspberry Glaze

3/4 cup raspberry preserves
2 Tablespoon warm water
1 cup raspberries

Prepare bottom crust and allow to cool. Combine 1-1/2 cup milk, half and half, butter and 3/8 cup sugar in double boiler and cook until butter is melted and milk is scalded. Whisk egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar and salt very well. Slowly add mixture to the hot milk, stirring constantly. Allow to cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch together and then slowly add to the hot mixture stirring constantly . Allow to cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently. When thick remove from heat. Slice bananas into pie shell and pour mixture over bananas. Cool and then chill in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. mix preserves with water and spread on top of pie, sprinkle with raspberries.

Adding bananas from a chair
Stirring from a chair

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mixed Apple Pie (4 Stars?)

Mixed Apple Pie

We made this pie for some friends who have suffered a recent tragedy. We call it a mixed apple since we used different varieties of apples: Pink Lady, Jonagold, and Fuji.All three are listed under the good cooking apple category. I hope it turned out okay, when you give away the pie, you may never know.

Crust: Buttermilk Double Crust

6 large Apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablepoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 Tablespoons flour

Prepare crusts, mix all ingredients together and pour into bottom shell, lay apples flat. Bake in the center on the bottom rack in a preheated oven at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F, rotate pie 180 degrees, cover outside rim of crust to prevent over-browning and bakke for 40 minutes until filling is bubbling thickly. Cool completely before serving.

Mixed Apple Pie

Pennsylvania Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie (3 Stars)

Pennsylvania Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie

Mixing the topping
Long name for a pie, its from the Ken Haedrich's PIE Book. We are always on the lookout for sour cream recipes and this one looked interesting.

Crust: Buttermilk bottom crust

1-1/4 cups sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups Granny Smith apples

Ready to bake
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 Tablespoons unsalted melted  butted

For the filling, mix together all ingredients then add the apples. Pour into prepared pie shell and lay apples flat. Cook in preheated oven at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Prepare topping  by mixing together all ingredients except butter. When mixed add butter and mix well. Remove pie from oven and add topping spreading over hot pie and packing down lightly. Continue to bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 2 hours before serving.

Finished Pie

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Banana Cream Pie (5 Stars)

Banana Cream Pie

What better way to start out the New Year than making a pie. We tried the Banana Cream Pie again and this time it worked. We need to give credit to our new Paula Dean double boiler, it sure made it a lot easier to end up with a creamy filling. The only thing I didn't like is when the vanilla is added it turns the off-white filling a little brown, but it tasted great.
Paula Dean Double Boiler

Crust: Buttermilk bottom crust

2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 Tablespoon butter
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
Sliced Bananas
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 large Bananas, sliced
Whipped cream for garnish

Place 1-1/2 cups whole milk, half-and-half, butter and 3/8 cup sugar in double boiler and stir. Heat over medium high heat until butter is melted. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Slowly add egg mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup whole milk, and cornstarch then add slowly to hot mixture, stirring constantly. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes and then stir frequently for 15 minutes. When pudding is thick, stir in vanilla. Place sliced Bananas in bottom of cooked pie shell. Pour filling over Bananas and allow to chill in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Top with whipped cream.

Adding the filling

First Pie of the Year

Callie, Mariel, Natalie, Abby, Kerry, Neil, Karly