Real Kiwi Pie + Flaky Crust
4 October 2008

The name of the blog is Kiwipie, but up until now, I’ve never actually put kiwis in a pie.  (Actually, I take that back.  I did make one once that had kiwis on top, but I wouldn’t consider it a kiwi pie.)

I have just moved to Oregon and as my first pie baking experiment here, I made kiwi pie.  Just pure kiwis.  It was pretty good, although it had a very unique flavour that even now I haven’t made up my mind if I liked.  My new neighbors and housemate seemed to like it though.

There are two recipes here.  First, I tweaked the proportions in the crust to make it more flaky, but still have a good flavour.

New Crust:
2 1/2 flour
1/4 sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
5 1/2 tbsp butter flavoured shortening (Crisco), frozen
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 – 1 cup chilled (iced) water

Mix flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut butter into chunks and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut into the dry ingredients.  The butter can be cut into smaller pieces here.  Cut the shortening into chunks and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients.  Leave slightly bigger pieces of shortening for a more flaky crust.  Combine vanilla and water, and slowly add water to the flour/fats mixture, tossing with a fork.  Continue adding water until the mixture becomes wet enough to stick to itself, but isn’t sticky.

Separate into two parts, roll into balls and pat down into discs.  Place each disc in its own Ziploc bag and refridgerate for at least 1 hour.  (With the larger chunks of shortening, it doesn’t solidify as fast, so it will not need to thaw if left in for several hours.)

When you are ready to make your pie, use a rolling pin to roll out one disc on a sheet of parchment paper, or on a pastry rolling mat.  Place the pie pan top down in the center of the rolled circle.  Slide one hand under the parchment paper, keep one hand on the pan, and invert.  Peel away the parchment paper.  Gently lift the overhanging edges of the pastry to let the corners tuck down into the pan.  Place in the freezer until ready to fill (this will keep it firm).

The more shortening makes the crust flakier, but using the butter flavour of the shortening kept a nice rich flavour.

Kiwi Pie:

Pastry for one 9″ double-crust pie (use the recipe above, or one one of your own, or storebought crust)

12-14 kiwis, ripe, peeled, sliced (4-5 cups)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp uncooked tapioca (just under 1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp (just a dash) nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix sugar, tapioca, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Mix kiwis and lemon juice.  Add kiwis and toss gently so they are coated with the sugar mixture, but don’t crush the kiwis too much.

Scoop into the pie crust.  Roll out the second crust on a piece of parchment paper.  Invert the paper over the pie and peel away.  Trim around the edges of the crust, then pinch together to make a seal.  Crimp edges of the crust.  Cut a plus sign into the top of the crust (this allows venting), about 1 inch for each of the four cuts.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 and heat for 45-55 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Allow to cool before cutting and serving!  The filling will need to set!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
10 August 2008

I made something that wasn’t pie! I actually made two types of brownies–white chocolate blondies and these chocolate peanut butter brownies. Both were yummy! I more or less follow this recipe for the white chocolate ones. The following is what I did for the chocolate ones. I didn’t have any cocoa, so I had to sort of make it up as I went.

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp butter (1.5 sticks)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (this a result of having no white sugar, but it worked)
2 eggs
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp butter

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate chips together in a small saucepan or the microwave (I used a microwave in 30 second bursts, then stirring thoroughly after each time.) Stir in brown sugar. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Mix in eggs. Add flour mixture and stir only until just blended (don’t overmix).

Pour into a 13×9 greased pan OR a 9in pie plate (this is what I did–as you may be able to infer, I wasn’t in my own kitchen and was limited on supplies).

Microwave 2 tbsp peanut butter and 1 tbsp of butter and stir until smooth. Drizzle over top of the batter. There will probably be enough left over to pour over baked brownies as well.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, check done-ness of the center, and add more time if needed. (Bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.)

We underbaked these on accident (took them out before the knife came out clean!) but they were still tasty! They firmed up the next day too.

Peach Pie with crumble top
1 August 2008

I baked again! It felt soooo good! I’m going to be baking like crazy for the next week or two. I have a double-oven right now! 🙂

Day afore yesterday, I thinned out the peach tree in the backyard of my current house. TONS of peaches! I didn’t get a chance to pick blackberries yet, so this first pie is just peaches peaches peaches. This is an adapted version of Ken Haedrich’s Lemonade Peach Pie. It sounded good, so this is what I ended up with…

Crust:
Single 9-in flaky crust (store-bought pastry or make your own)

Filling (the measurements on this are kind of smudgy–I was pretty lax in my measuring technique)
4 to 4 1/2 cups peaches, pitted, peeled, sliced
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (use less sugar for more ripe peaches, more sugar for less ripe)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup lemonade or lemonade concentrate (I used Simply Lemonade.)
1 tbsp lemon juice (big guess on the measurement here–I just squirted a bunch in!)

Mix everything together in a medium sized saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a low boil. (This is to set cornstarch!) Stir frequently, but gently so as not to smash or break the more tender peaches.

When mixture thickens, remove from heat and let cool. Pour into unbaked pie crust.

Topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
5-6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Add butter–smaller chunks are better. You can pulse this in a food processor for a few seconds to get the texture of thick cornmeal, or just leave as is.

Pour over the top of pie and pat down gently.

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes; reduce heat to 350 for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several hours before serving.

I made this last night and served it for breakfast this morning. YUM!

To-do list
25 June 2008

This morning while I was supposed to be working (and I WAS working, just multi-tasking!), I browsed my way through all sorts blogs. I started out in the “Tag Surfer”, which is a snazzy little function of WordPress that pulls up blogs that have similar search tags as what I write. I ended up clicking through links and other links and so on and so forth…

I found quite a few goodies. Here are a few I want to try:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Bakerella (found that one via Chocolate Chipped–that whole blog is full of tasty stuff!)

CUP PIES! – Okay, she calls them Tiny Pies, but this is a project I have wanted to do for a long time. They are cup pies, an idea I saw on Pushing Daisies (pretty much the best TV show ever). (Cup pie = cupcake size/shape + pie ingredients/texture/filling/etc)

Blueberry-lavender Cheesecake with Sage Shortbread Crust – YUM! This creation looks amazing! And it has such a variety of flavours and textures! It looks like fun to make AND fun to eat!

Brownie-Bottom White Chocolate Raspberry Chiffon – Gracious, that is a mouthful to say! It’s one off Cookie Madness and it has been looking delicious for a while! Also snazzy, it’s a chiffon without gelatin (or any substitute). Worth a try, no?

Just found today…
White Chocolate Berry Pie
Blondies (just a new version to try)

Found another today:

Hand pies

Lemon Chiffon Pie
23 June 2008

So the weather around here was cooler than normal today, and with a breeze, the mid-90s were not so bad. However, I still didn’t much feel like a hot pie, nor did I really want to turn the oven on any more than I absolutely had to.

My favourite (read: only) little helper was over today (this is the one who helped me with the cherry pie), so we looked through Ken Haedrich’s Pie to get some ideas. We decided on Lemon Chiffon. It’s different from anything I’ve made. Recently I’ve been making so many fruit pies because of all the fresh fruit that’s coming in season. I’ve made cream pies before, but never a chiffon pie. I was a little unsure of it too, since it requires folding egg whites in to a mixture and I dread folding.

Well the other problem we discovered was with gelatin. We are all vegetarian (Munchkin included) and while once in a while we’ll eat something with gelatin (Jello if it’s mixed with something, and also we do have Skittles on occasion), we’d prefer to not make the pie with gelatin (as the recipe asked). We went on a gelatin-substitute quest. Safeway didn’t have anything, but at the local health food store, we decided on agar agar. (Not just “agar”, I reminded Munchkin, but “agar agar”.)

Google and I teamed up and discovered the proper ways to convert gelatin measurements in a recipe to agar agar measurements. As it turns out though, preparation is not the same.

The recipe that follows is the ingredients, but not the order I prepared them it. This pie was pretty much a complete failure and a disaster for most of its life, but I was determined to salvage it. These are the steps I took, minus the failed steps, and in the proper order I feel they should’ve gone. We haven’t yet eaten the pie, but it seemed pretty well salvaged by the end…

Crust:
1 – 9 in graham cracker crust (I made this from scratch, but I will post the recipe later)

Filling:
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp agar agar

1/2 cup lemonade (we used Crystal Lite, I think)
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible, but the kind that comes in the lemon shaped bottle is good)
1/4 tsp lemon extract (pure, not imitation)
(yes, this is VERY lemon-y chiffon!)
3/4 cup + 1/3 cup sugar (separated–awkward measurements due to mistake making)
4 large* eggs, separated (Munchkin, regarding egg separation: “Does this mean put the brown eggs in one pile and the white eggs in another pile?”)
pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour water in a small saucepan and add agar agar. Let this sit at room temperature during the next step to let it get soft.

In a medium-sized saucepan (non-stick if you have it!), whisk up lemonade, lemon juice, lemon extract, 3/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed before turning to medium heat. Cook over medium heat (do not boil!), stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to about the texture of thick cream.

If you can multi-task, bring agar agar to a boil now. Otherwise, take lemon mixture off heat before turning your attention to the agar agar. Boil and stir agar agar until dissolved. Agar agar dissolved in water around 185F. I had problems here, so I used a candy thermometer to make sure it go up to nearly 200F. Strain (to pull out any undissolved bits–if there is a lot of undissolved agar left, put it in the pan again with more water and boil) into lemon mixture. Stir well. Put this whole bit into a bowl and refrigerate about 1 hour. IT SHOULD THICKEN UP!

Towards the end of this hour, put egg whites in a large bowl. Blend until they peak (soft peaks). Beat in cream of tartar. Beat in 1/3 cup sugar until you get glossy, stiff-ish peaks. Beat in vanilla. This should not be quite as dry as a meringue, but should still be pretty stiff.

Gently and lovingly fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Tilt the lemon mixture bowl sideways a bit (about 45 degrees or so). Plop a portion of the egg white mixture in the upper corner. Using a broad spoon or a rubber spatula, cut down through the middle then, fold up and in on one side. Repeat this process until the egg white mixture is thoroughly mixed, but has lost a minimal amount of fluffiness.

Pour mixture into the crust. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate for several (3+) hours or overnight. Serve up with some whipped cream!

*My note about large eggs: Have you ever seen a recipe that called for small eggs? Every recipe I’ve ever seen involving eggs calls for large eggs. You’d think by now they’d assume to just write “eggs” and you’d know not to get something the size of a hummingbird egg. But I suppose it’s a “just in case” sort of thing.

Also… I havenae any pictures of this process. I had several reasons, not the least of which was because it was a dreadful mess of a process. I will add a picture of the finished pie when I open it up in the morning though.

Berries in chocolate lined crust
13 June 2008

Two days ago was my mum’s birthday. I meant to make the pie that day, but got distracted by having a new laptop (this post is brought to you by Aayla, laptop extraordinaire! Okay, maybe not extraordinary, but certainly exciting.)

I had to buy new berries today, the ones from two days ago were already completely bad (and incredibly fuzzy and hairy! YUCK!).

Yuck!

I bought fresh blackberries and raspberries, and found these exciting golden raspberries. They taste like raspberries, maybe a little less tart, but they’re golden yellow. They were more expensive, but I bought a package just for fun.

Golden raspberries!

This is sort of a hit/miss pie as far as your tasters go. My mum chose this pie for her birthday because it is her favourite pie I have ever made (I believe it was the first or second pie I ever made too). A few months ago I asked my brother and his girlfriend about their favourite pies, and in addition to telling me their favourites, they told me they thought this one was disgusting.

Personally I think it’s pretty tasty. Maybe not my favourite, but definitely good.

I did some experimenting with thickeners and also with the crust on this one…

Filling:
4 cups blackberries + raspberries (you can split 2 cups each, or use a little more of whichever you like more)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup tapioca (this is new for me–a bit of an experiment since I’m not too crazy about how cornstarch has been treating me lately)

Crust lining:
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (this was a bar and a half of the baking bar I bought)
3 tbsp half & half

Crust:
Double crust – plain flaky crust – split into two discs, one a little larger
(I added a very tiny bit of almond extract to this crust–less than 1/4 tsp, just to be experimental)

Roll out the larger disc, invert into the pie pan. Gently lift the edges and tuck the pastry into the pie pan. Put pie plate with crust in freezer to help firm it up while you do your next step.

Chocolate:

Chocolate and cream...

Break chocolate up into squares and put in a small saucepan. Add half & half. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is smoothly melted.

Take out pie crust and pour chocolate into crust. Smooth into a thin layer in bottom and along sides. Return to freezer.

Chocolate-lined crust

Filling:
Rinse blackberries and raspberries and put into a large bowl. Mash up berries (I use a potato masher). There can be some chunks, but get a good bit of smashing in.

Smashing is  the best part

Add sugar and tapioca and mix up well.

Set aside and roll out the second disc of crust. Cut into 1/2 inch strips.

Retreive crust from freezer. Pour in berry mixture. Cross dough strips across the top to make a lattice crust.

Before baking

Bake at 400*F (I did this one actually at 405–I meant to do 425, but got impatient waiting for the oven to heat) for 45-50 minutes. The filling should be nice and thick! Be warned, this pie overflows, so make sure to put a baking sheet or foil underneath.

Voila!

Let cool to room temperature and enjoy!

This pie turned out pretty well! It was served well before it was cooled enough (as is custom in my incredibly impatient family), and so was rather sloppy, but it seemed to taste fine. Though it was hard to tell with the hot pie semi-runny, I think the tapioca worked well as a thickener (better than the cornstarch on my last few pies!) and I would definitely use it again.

Sweet Cherry Pie with Grated Crust
31 May 2008

Alright, so I recruited myself some good free child labour (my niece) and yesterday evening we pitted about 12 cups of cherries. This morning we got right to work. The leftover crust from the top of yesterday’s strawberry rhubarb was the freezer—not as a disc but roughly as a rectangle/cube. (This is an idea out of Pie by Ken Haedrich.) We rolled out one disc of simply flaky crust (with a “new” rolling pin—I just got my grandma’s rolling pin, which was her mother’s before her! It’s a simple wood one, but it worked great). Inverted into the pie dish, made a ridge around the edge and crimped, then put in the fridge while we moved on.

Next, the filling. The general idea for this came from Pie also, but he called for cherry liqueur or peach schnapps, neither of which I have. He also didn’t include almond extract, which I believe is essential to cherry pie.

After Munchkin and I made and sampled the first pie, I made some changes to the recipe as I made a second pie (this one for the friend of mine who actually hand picked all the cherries).

5(ish) cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted
2/3 cup sugar + 3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract*
1/4 tsp almond extract*
*(I measured these low so it wasn’t quite 1/4 each, but just a little less)
2 tbsp cornstarch

Mix together cherries, 2/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and extracts. Mix up really well and taste because cherries taste absolutely delicious this way. (Okay, that’s not really a step in the recipe but I definitely recommend it.) Let sit for a bit (about 15 minutes will do) to let the juices do their thing.

In a separate small bowl, thoroughly mix together 3 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cornstarch. Add this to the cherries when they’re done sitting.

Stir it all up and pour into pie crust. Using the large holes on a cheese grater, grate the block of frozen crust dough (assuming you don’t bake non-stop like I’ve been doing, you’ll need to make a double crust pastry recipe for this—one crust rolled out and put in the pan, and one crust frozen in a block). Sprinkle grated crust over the top of the cherries. Make a nice thick layer. Dust with sugar (Ken Haedrich recommends coarse sanding sugar, but I didn’t have any lying about so I just used plain white granulated sugar).

Bake at 400°F for about 30 minutes. Rotate pie 180 degrees. I had some trouble getting the first pie to thicken, so I modified my bake time for the second one. The crust was plenty done though, so I pulled the oven shelf out and layered strips of aluminium foil around the outer edges of the crust. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 35-40 minutes. At about 30 minutes, check to make sure the juices are bubbling! They have to bubble for a good long while—I made sure mine bubbled for 15 minutes and the filling is nice and thick this time.

When the pie is done baking, remove from oven and set on a cooling rack. Let cool for about 2 hours (this was the longest two hours of my neice’s life!). Tastes great served with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream.

Fun with tops
30 May 2008

So a friend of mine graduated from college and for her present, I baked pie (this is what I do!).  I made the strawberry rhubarb one since everyone seems to love that–plus she’s never had strawberry rhubarb pie before!  Instead of my normal lattice crust though, I was creative.  She got her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, so I decided on this (nearly) floating top:

Tomorrow… cherry pie!

Pictures and… YUM
16 May 2008

So I’m having yesterday’s pie for breakfast today and OH MY GOODNESS, it is the best pie I think I’ve made.  It is soooo tasty.  No one else is home and I’m not sure there will be any pie left when they return.  I’m all for living with a collection of taste testers, but I want this whole thing for myself.

Alright, now I’m going to try to figure out how to get some pictures in here!

Terrific, I did it!  These strawberries were BEGGING to be eaten.  I hulled and washed about three times as many as I put in the pie because I kept eating them.


My poor munchkin crust folded in on itself and shrunk down.  It is delightfully flaky though, it a little thick.


Mangoes and strawberry slices layered on top of cream cheese.


Finished pie. The syrup overflowed my sunken crust, but that didn’t make a difference on taste!

I Have No More Homework Pie
16 May 2008

I finally made the mango cream cheese pie I’ve been thinking about all week!  I named it “I Have No More Homework Pie”.  This is pretty self-explanitory.  Today was my last day of lectures (I still have two finals awaitng me next week, but no actual homework).  It’s the best.

So we’ve had three mangoes sitting in the kitchen windowsill for over a week.  Today I finally go to them.  I also picked up strawberries from a roadside farm today.  (Not the ones who buy strawberries and then resell them, but where it’s just a little stand out front of acres of strawberry fields.)  I decided to throw those in too.

This is a variation of a blueberry cream cheese pie I make.  The original recipe for that is actually from the TV show Pushing Daises.  (One of my favourite TV shows!  It’s absolutely darling.)  The base is cream cheese, topped with fresh whole (or in this case sliced) fruit, and finished off with a syrup.  I use normal easy-peasy crust.

This time I didn’t cut the butter and shortening in very well and left larger chunks.  The crust shrunk down immensely in the oven (oops), but because of the bigger chunks of shortening, it turned out amazingly flaky.  An unfortunate side effect of the munchkin crust was that my syrup overflowed the top (I nearly only have a bottom crust).  It looks so tasty though that I’m sure it will be totally alright.

Here’s the plan:

Crust:
Single 9′ crust easy-peasy flaky crust, prebaked and cooled

Parts:

Syrup:
1 1/2 cups mango (about one whole mango–use a mushier one for this)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (this is a guess on my part.  I used more than 3/4 cup, but I don’t think I quite made it to 1 cup)
2 tbsp cornstarch
lemon juice (a few squirt, about 1 tbsp)
water

Put mango in a large measure (I use my 2 cup beaker measuring cup) and smash up with a fork (you can also put in the food processor and just whirl it a few times).  Add lemon juice.  Fill measuring cup with water until the whole thing measures 1 1/2 cups.  Pour into a small saucepan.  Mix together sugar and cornstarch and stir into mango mix.  Heat and boil until it thickens.  Allow to cool while you do the next parts.

Cream cheese:
8 oz cream cheese
2-4 tbsp (depends on dryness of cream cheese) half & half (or whole milk)
Beat (don’t just stir, it won’t get creamy enough) until smooth.

Fruit:
Slice 4-5 strawberries (if they’re soft enough, use an egg slicer!)
Slice 1 whole mango into small spears

Assembly:
Smooth cream cheese into crust.  Evenly cover with strawberry and mango slices (pile in as much as you want!).  Pour syrup over top.  Garnish with a few extra strawberry slices (the red looks great on the orange-yellow syrup!).  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

We haven’t actually eaten this yet since I’m still chilling it (and I’m rather picky about how long things have to chill–the household of taste testers isn’t so picky.  They just want pie NOW.).  I’m pretty excited though.

I photo’d the whole process this time, so I’ll post pictures when I get them off my camera.