Embracing Fall

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Fall is here and winter is just around the corner.  In my mind, to embrace fall, pie must be eaten, apple cider drunk, and friends and laughter are close at hand.   Therefore, this post will be completely dedicated to pie, in honor of the arrival of Fall. Can you possibly imagine a better way to fill up a post than with pie recipes?!  I can’t.  So, here goes!  And just to clarify, I am no expert pie baker; I simply love to eat pie, and making it is a joy, as long as it isn’t too hard.  The recipes below are easy and have delicious results. They are a few of our favorites from the Pie Party and I hope you enjoy making and eating these pies…Libi and I sure did!

Perfect Pie Crust:

This recipe is from the one and only Martha Stewart!  It has served well and earned its place in the family recipe collection, to be pulled out when pie is craved.  This recipe makes a beautiful more shortbread type of crust,  a must try for everyone!

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 TBSP margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 c. ice water

Instructions:

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt; then cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1 TBSP bits and add to the flour mixture, using a pastry cutter…

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until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Add the ice water little by little, pressing the pastry together into two equal sized balls.  At this point, if the mixture seems a bit dry, even a little bit, then add a bit more water.  It’s better to be on the safe side than regret this later when the dough won’t stick together!

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Flatten into round disks and wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

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Then use to make delicious pies!  This recipe yields two crusts, unless making a pie that requires a top crust.

French Silk Pie (Chocolate Cream):

This recipe was from Ali Ebright’s blog, http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/ and it is simply amazing!  Just a quick warning for those of you who are a bit cautious when it comes to raw eggs, like me, this pie does contain 3 raw eggs.  But, I tossed aside my caution, to the wind some may say, and it was absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated ugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • (optional) 1/4 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1 fully pre-baked 9-inch pie shell (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • 1 chocolate bar, roughly chopped or shaved or melted into chocolate curls

Instructions:

Heat chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second intervals, stirring between, until completely melted. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes until it is nearly room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. When melted chocolate has cooled, add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat the mixture on medium-low speed until thoroughly until combined. Add vanilla and beat until combined.

Switch to the whisk attachment. Add one egg, and beat for 5 minutes of medium speed. Repeat with remaining three eggs, beating the mixture for an additional 5 minutes after each egg. (20 minutes total.) Pour the filling into a baked pie shell and use a spatula to spread out the top evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until chilled before serving.

Top with desired amount of whipped cream, then garnish with chocolate shavings or curls, and enjoy!

Spiced Maple Pumpkin Pie:

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This is a recipe from my mom’s collection, and we both can not remember where it came from!  It is our fall favorite and was an all-round favorite at the Pie Party.  The secret ingredient in this pie is the delicious maple syrup, giving it a sweet, sticky flavor which will leave your guests marveling at your pie skills!

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 16 oz. can (2 c.) pumpkin
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 c. maple flavored syrup (buying “real” maple syrup really pays off here!)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Spiced Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Make pie crust for one-crust (9 inch) pie. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix well.

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Pour into prepared crust lined pie pan (9 inch).  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 min; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, or until center is set and a knife comes out almost clean.  (the crust edges may need to be covered with foil to prevent burning).

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This pie tastes really delicious with a spiced whipped cream, which is made by beating whipped cream until soft peaks form, then adding the powder sugar, syrup, and cinnamon.  Put a dollop on the pie and enjoy!

Pecan Pie:

This pie is fabulous but, as with the pumpkin pie, I don’t know where this recipe came from, since we’ve had it so long!  Please try this pie, you will not regret it!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 c. white corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
  • 1 1/2 c. pecans, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together.  Add corn syrup and whip until light.  In a separate bowl, whip the eggs and salt together until light and fluffy.  Combine the eggs with the sugar mixture along with the flour, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix well and pour into the crust.  Sprinkle pecans on top (a bit of extra brown sugar can be sprinkled with the pecans as well to crystallize the sugar while it bakes).

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Enjoy your beautiful pie!

Well, I hope you have such a blast making and eating these pies!  Embrace fall.  Embrace the cold.

Embrace the pie.  With your mouth.

Cheers!

Abby

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