Fresh Blueberry Pie

Everyone seems to go crazy for blueberries and strawberries around the 4th of July holiday, so it seemed like the perfect weekend to whip up a blueberry pie with one of my favorite people, Annie. Annie, by the way, appears to be superhuman – she gave birth only a little over 2 weeks ago and has been in the kitchen whipping stuff up left and right. She is definitely my hero! I have only made pies twice before (an apple pie and lemon meringue pie) and was anxious to give it another go and, more importantly, I wanted to try making a lattice top. After finally settling on a recipe, we were off to gather blueberries and assemble this beautiful pie!

More about assembling the pie and recipes after the break.

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TWD: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart

This week’s selection came from Marie at A Year in Oak Cottage, and it was a perfect pick to top off four days of 90-degree plus weather. Nothing screams summer quite like strawberries! This recipe was described by Dorie as a rustic type of tart, with strawberry jam spread on the tart and each person piling on as many strawberries as desired from a big bowl served in the middle of the table.

More about the tart after the break…

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TWD: Fluted Polenta Ricotta Cake

This week’s recipe selection comes to us from Caitlin over at Engineer Baker. I have to be completely honest – at first glance, this recipe didn’t seem all that appealing to me, but my mom and grandma thought it sounded fantastic, so I decided to make it and give it to them to enjoy. As I was putting the cake together, it smelled absolutely fabulous! Definitely a distinct Mediterranean aroma, and as it baked the smell only got better.

More about the cake and the recipe after the break…

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TWD: Fresh Orange Cream Tart

My first tart, hooray! I am in awe of the beauty of the fluted buttery crust!

This week’s Tuesday With Dorie recipe was chosen by Mary of Starting From Scratch. Her choice was The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart; however, with so many people not necessarily having a taste for lemons, we were given an alternate choice – the Fresh Orange Cream Tart. Since I am not a huge fan of lemon, I went for the Fresh Orange Cream Tart.

This tart can easily be described as a creamsicle wrapped up in a buttery shortbread crust. The first part of this tart involved making the cream. A number of people had noted problems with getting the cream up to 180 degrees, but I used a metal bowl and hit 180 degrees in just about 10 minutes, as the recipe indicated. After heating the cream, the butter is whirred in, in more of an emulsion type of procedure. A quick taste confirmed that this was a silky smooth and perfectly orange mixture.

The dough for this tart was nothing short of amazing. Using a food processor to combine it the key was to have patience. Some said that their dough turned out crumbly and dry. After adding the egg it did appear to be dry and course, but after about five of the 10 second pulses, the sound changed (as Dorie indicated it would) and the dough clumped up. It didn’t form a cohesive ball, but clumped together enough to be able to be rolled out very nicely.

The tart had a nice, light flavor to it, was nice and creamy, and I just can’t say enough about that crust! I typically prefer richer desserts over citrus ones, but this was a nice change of pace and I’d love to fill that tart crust with some luscious chocolate! 🙂

I did try to brush the tart with the boiled down apple jelly, but it was just too much for my delicate cream. You can see some imperfections on the surface, and that’s where I tried to lightly brush it on, but I chose to just skip it as it seemed to be too much for the surface.

The Tuesdays With Dorie group is nearing 125 members, so be sure to head on over to the blog and check out everyone’s lemon and orange tarts!

Next week: Marshmallows
Last week: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

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Happy (Belated) Pi Day!

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I know this is a couple of days late, but I haven’t been at the computer much and so I missed all of the “official” Pi Day festivities. While it’s obvious that this is not a traditional pie, these are a variation of the famed Whoopie Pie. After watching an episode of Unwrapped on The Food Network late one night that was featuring whoopie pies, Nick said that there was a bakery near where he grew up that made them with a yellow batter a stiff, sugary icing. He asked if I could try to recreate them, and after having forgotten about it for awhile, thought that Pi Day would be the perfect day to try to whip them up.

I basically just altered some recipes for the chocolate whoopie pie and used a stiff buttercream icing. Nick said that these were really close to being what he remembered, and after sitting in tupperware overnight they were even better. If I make these again I will increase the amount of baking powder so as to give them a little more rise. Otherwise, these were a great sugary treat!

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TWD: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake

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This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake, was chosen by Natalie over at Burned Bits. Thanks Natalie, for choosing such a wonderful recipe! Not that a fabulous Dorie recipe is anything of an anomaly; each and every one I have tried has been wonderful. This recipe is labeled as a “pie-cake” due to an apple mixture being sandwiched between two layers of crust (very pie-like) and the crust itself being more of a shortbread-cakey crust than a flaky pastry crust. The combination of these elements was truly spectacular. I am a *huge* crust fan, and I have to admit that after we ate the inaugural pieces, I kept breaking off pieces of crust and eating it. This was a wonderful dessert, and a recipe that I will save, as it would be perfect for a late summer or fall get together. It has a warm, homey, and rustic feel to it.

I cut this recipe in half, using an 8×8 pan and ended up baking it for around 50 minutes. I used all Gala apples, and I thought the flavor was perfect in this dish. A number of people mentioned having some problems with sticky dough, but mine came together soft and just about perfect. I used all of the flour, as Dorie states is almost always the case, and just a smidgen more sugar than the recipe called for. Again, this was such a wonderful dessert. Dorie also suggests that this could be made into individual turnovers, and in fact Nick suggested that before he even saw the recipe! I think this would be great in that form, or even in individual ramekins. So many wonderful options!

Tuesdays With Dorie continues to grow by leaps and bounds! We are now at over 70 members; head on over to the Tuesdays With Dorie blog and click through the blogroll to see how everyone else did with this week’s recipe.

Next week: Brioche Raisin Snails

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Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

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This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was the classic Lemon Meringue Pie, chosen by Jen at The Canadian Baker. As beloved a dessert as it is, I am not a fan of lemon unless it is squeezed into my water. I was contemplating foregoing this month, but then my sister told me that she would be stopping by for a visit, and she loves a good lemon meringue pie. Finally, a reason to make the pie!

I have never made a lemon meringue (or any type of meringue) pie before, so I had no preconceived notions about what to expect. I had, however, been hearing some rumblings of problems with this pie from other Daring Bakers who had made it early in the month. Having no experience with lemon meringue pie, I was becoming a little apprehensive. However, I forged ahead and went through with the recipe as it was written. I am happy to report that I had no problems with the pie. Aside from the crust shrinking on one side (“There was shrinkage!” – for all of you Seinfeld fans), the lemon curd came together perfectly and the meringue was beautiful. Nick, my sister, and the rest of our guests all loved the pie and said it was wonderful.

To see how the rest of the Daring Bakers fared with the pie, check out the Blogroll.

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I actually think this was the best job I’ve done at preparing pie crust (I can usually never get it that smooth!) and I wanted to document it, so here’s a little tooting of my own horn:

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My sister, Lauren and her (our) friend, Alanna, enjoying their pie (I told you girls you would make the blog!):

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