Strawberry Apple Crumble

It’s my mom’s birthday week!

Her actual birthday is on Friday but today, the office threw together a surprise potluck for her. Yes, my mom is also my boss =) Last week she mentioned that she wanted me to bake her a strawberry rhubarb pie for her birthday. Unfortunately, rhubarb is out of season so I opted for strawberry apple.

I made the dough ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge while I made the filling and crumble. I made the crumble top first by mixing the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, brown sugar, and salt) together then added the melted butter.

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I mixed it all together to create the crumble (which was delicious on it’s own by the way).

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I put that aside and started on the pie filling by cutting up the apples and strawberries.

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I coated the fruits with cornstarch and a little bit of sugar.

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While the fruit sat, I rolled out the dough and placed it into a cake pan. Turns out all of my pie dishes are at my mom’s house! I read up on it to make sure the pie would cook evenly in a cake pan and the consensus was, yes. I put the fruit in the rolled out dough and covered it with the crumble.

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I put it in the oven for 55 minutes at 375 degrees F. It was supposed to bake for 1h15 minutes but I’ve learned to bake my pies for less time than directed. I learned this from how my pies would dry out if I baked them the whole time and then reheated them again in the oven.

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Bits of the crumble got a little too dark but overall, the pie looked amazing! My mom and everyone at the office agreed that it was delicious and a great way to transition from summer to fall (or from rhubarb to apple)!

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When I cut into it, it was definitely a crumble and the pieces barely held together. It was super juicy with a nice amount of crunch at the top. Yum yum yummy!

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Sweetly,

Simona

This entry was posted in Pies.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

We celebrated multiple birthdays this weekend!

So, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie for the occasion. I made the dough a night in advance and the filling and baking the morning of the party. My main goal in making this pie (other than making it delicious) was to have a thin and flaky crust.

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I rolled out the bottom dough and made the filling with rhubarb, strawberries, brown and white sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch.

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I could tell at this point already that my crust was thin – yay!

I rolled out the second dough to make the lattice top strips.

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My lattice strips were also thin, which was a good thing, but some of them broke apart. I still have to work on the aesthetics of my pies that have lattice tops. It’s hard!

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I put a milk wash on the pie and popped it into the oven. The kitchen started to smell sooo good and an hour and a half later, the pie was ready!

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It was a great addition to the other beautiful cakes we had for the party.

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I was so happy to hear from everyone at the party that the pie was delicious! My mom and Gino (who have tried many of my other pies) even said it was my best one yet! The crust was very thin and flaky and the filling was perfect! Frances, who’s favorite pie is strawberry-rhubarb, said that the strawberry/rhubarb ratio was just right as well. Woohoo!

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Happy Birthday to the summer babies!

Sweetly,

Simona

Sur La Table Pie Class

I took another cooking class at Sur La Table!

(Again, please excuse the iPhone quality pictures in this post)

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This time, I went with my mamma and we took the “Pies from Scratch” class. On the menu, there was a Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie and Lemon Meringue Mini Pies.

The group was much larger this time since we went on a Sunday morning so things were a little more hectic. We still had a lot of fun though and the pies we made were delicious!

 We started by learning how to properly roll out the dough. Turns out you should focus on the middle, roll a few times, then turn the dough slightly and repeat. It’s also good to know that whatever shape your dough is in when it comes out of the fridge, it will roll out into. So, if you have a square, it will roll into a square, etc. This might explain why my mounds of dough always turn into crazy shaped rolled out pie crusts 🙂

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For the strawberry rhubarb pie, we mixed the fruits with the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. The pie crust was placed into the pie dish and then we added the fruits. The chef then taught us how to make a lattice on top. I’ve tried this before alone and it did not go well so I was so glad she went through this. I was and still am a little confused and will need more practice but our lattice from class came out really nicely!

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The important part here, she said, was that there was enough space between each strip so that the pie can breathe while it’s baking.

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While the pie was baking, we made the mini lemon meringue pies. It was really good for me to see meringue made again. Practice makes perfect!

We topped the lemon curd that we made with the meringue and then used a torch to brown the meringue. How cool!

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 We didn’t eat these during class but they looked amazing!

Once the lemon meringue pies were done, the strawberry rhubarb pie was ready to come out of the oven. They were very nicely browned and made the whole kitchen smell amazing! The edges were a little bit burnt because we added the tinfoil to cover them a little bit late, but it wasn’t that bad.

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We cut into this pie during class and it was so, so, so good. The crust was flaky and the filling was so deliciously sweet. All I wanted was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!

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Sweetly,

Simona

Chocolate Pudding & Lemon Curd Mini-Pies

Everything is better in mini!

The second dessert I made for Ward’s birthday were mini-pies. I didn’t want to be baking up until the moment of the party and didn’t want to worry about continuously warming them up for people so I decided on two no-bake filling pies. I went for a chocolate pudding filling and a lemon curd filling for those who do not love chocolate – gasp!

I made the pie crust the night before and made both fillings while the crusts baked.

I used a 4 inch bowl to cut the pie crusts after rolling the dough out as thinly as possible. Since these pies were mini, I wanted to make sure that the crusts were the perfect thickness so as not to be too overbearing or so as not to take away from the filling.

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After greasing the muffin tin (I also greased the top so there would be absolutely no sticking), I placed the rounds of dough inside. This part was a little stressful for me because I knew I had to work fast and touch the dough as little as possible so as not to warm the butter too much. This was hard because I had to press the dough onto the sides of the tin and make sure there was a little edge sticking over the top.

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I was glad that these were mini pies because I knew that I would have enough pie weights to really make a difference.

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I put them in to bake for 25 minutes and I was so happy with how they came out! They were perfectly golden and crispy and most of them had deep enough centers for a lot of filling 🙂

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Now it was time to make the pie fillings! I started with the lemon curd because the wait time for it to be ready was longer.

To begin, I squeezed lemon juice and made lemon zest.

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I added the zest, juice, eggs, sugar, butter, and salt into a bowl and mixed until incorporated. I then placed it into the fridge to set for 4 hours.

For the chocolate pudding filling, I heated sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk, and egg yolks over the stove.

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As soon as it began to boil, I pulled it off the heat and added the chocolate chunks, vanilla, and butter.

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At this point, the pie crusts had cooled so I began to pour the chocolate pudding into half of them. I waited until just before the party to fill the other half with the lemon curd.

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I even had enough leftover to make some bowls of pudding!

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The chocolate pudding mini-pies were a big hit and they went really fast! People were loving them 🙂

I was a little less thrilled by my lemon mini-pies because the curd never fully set. I must have done something wrong or need to alter my recipe. The taste was right on but the consistency was off. I still served them and people did eat and enjoy them but they were messy.

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All in all, I think the pastries were a big hit and I’m really glad I made them for such a big audience! It definitely gave me a nice boost of confidence and I think the birthday boy really enjoyed the sweets as well!

Sweetly,

Simona

Sweet Strawberry Pie

Day three of Ward’s birthday celebrations!

For Ward’s birthday dinner with his family on Tuesday night, he requested that I make a strawberry pie. From my Googling, it seemed like most strawberry pies are served cold (interesting!).

I made the dough the night before so that it could sit in the fridge overnight. I’ve been getting some feedback that sometimes my pie crusts are a little thick around the corners so my goal for this pie was to thin those corners out. To do this, I decided to use the dining room table instead of the kitchen island so I could roll and roll with no space constraints.

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As you can see, sometimes when I roll out my dough, it doesn’t become a nice, even circle. It really doesn’t matter though, because those edges are eventually shaped into the crust of cut off.

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Look at all that extra dough on the side! It’s enough to make a few mini pies!

Since this was a cold pie and would not be baked with the filling inside, I glazed the edges with egg right away so that the sides would be golden.

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I then filled the pie crust with my pie weights. Lately I’ve been noticing that my pie weights aren’t heavy enough (I need a second set), so I’ve been adding uncooked rice to them for extra weight. It’s more complicated for clean-up, but well worth it for the crust.

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I proceeded with baking the crust as if I were blind-baking it. Halfway through, I removed the pie weights and baked it for a bit longer.

Meanwhile, I made the sweet sauce that would cover the strawberries. I boiled sugar, cornstarch, and water until it got thick. Once thickened, I added the strawberry flavored gelatin and mixed until incorporated. It was basically like making jello with a few extra ingredients.

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I placed the gelatin mixture into the fridge to cool and halved the strawberries.

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I was really happy with how my pie crust came out. It was crispy and golden! I let it cool for 10 minutes and then began to fill it with the strawberries. I started with an outer circle of strawberries then piled the rest into the center.

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By this time, the gelatin had cooled and I poured it over the strawberries.

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 The pie had to be cooled in the fridge so that the gelatin could set. We hurried to his parent’s house so that I could stick it into their fridge while we ate. After a delicious steak dinner, the pie had fully set (phew!) and was ready to be served. It was fresh, cool, and sweet. I can see myself making this on warm days.

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…and lucky for Ward, this meant more singing and candles!

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Sweetly,

Simona

P.S. This crust turned out super flaky and was not thick around the corners! I’ll be rolling the rest of my pies out on the dining room table from now on 🙂