Monday, August 20, 2012

New and Improved Cherry Pie Recipe

I was never happy with my original cherry pie recipe.  The cherries did not cook down enough for me- and you can still see the cherry shaped lumps through the pie crust.  I decided to modify the recipe.  I precooked the cherry filling so they would be more like a compote but with nice pieces of cherry to chew on as well, and I added some vanilla bean paste along with some kirch, instead of using almond extract.  The sugar crusted lattice crust was the key to adding a lightness to the pie that was to die for.

The results were fantastic!

You MUST make this pie before cherry season ends.  It is a sweet Bing cherry pie and it was gone in two nights in my house.

Here is my new and improved cherry pie recipe:

Cherry Pie Filling

2 Tbsp Kirsch
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp Corn Starch
3 lbs pitted, halved bing cherries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup splenda
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. mix all ingredients but the cherries and dissolve all of the cornstarch.
2. pour wet ingredients on the cherries.
3. Pour cherry mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium  high until bubbling.  
4. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
5. Cool cherry filling before placing in pie or your top crust will be too soft to lattice.

Pie Crust

1 medium egg, beaten
Course sugar crystals
Shortening or butter to limit sticking

Use your favorite crust recipe, or do what I do and buy Trader Joe's frozen pie crust- people will assume you made it yourself!  If using a frozen crust, remember to leave it on the counter for 1.5 hours to defrost before use.

Pie Assembly

1. Rub shortening or butter all over 9 inch pie plate.
2. Put one layer of pie dough in pie plate and trim edges with kitchen shears, leaving about 1 inch overhanging.
3. Pour cooled cherry pie filling on top of the pie dough.
4. Cut strips of the pie dough and layer to create lattice crust.  
5.  Brush with egg wash (one beaten egg and a Tbsp lukewarm water).
6. Sprinkle generously with course sugar crystals.
7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour.
8. 30 minutes into baking, cover crust edges with a pie shield or you can use aluminum foil.  Make sure to brush some butter or shortening on the shield first so it won't stick to the crust while baking.
9. Remove pie after an hour of baking or when the pie crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
10. Cool and let pie solidify for at least an hour or two before cutting, or the filling will not stay in the pie slice.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Orange Julius in the Summertime

My favorite Summertime drink- the Orange Julius, aka creamsicle in a glass.  According to Wikipedia:
The drink grew out of an orange juice stand opened in Los Angeles in 1926 by Julius Freed. Sales were initially modest, about $20 a day (about $245 in 2010 dollars, adjusting for inflation). In 1929, Bill Hamlin, Freed's real estate broker, developed a mixture that made the acidic orange juice less bothersome to his stomach. Freed's stand began serving the drink, which had a frothier, creamier texture. The sales at the stand increased substantially after the introduction of the new drink, going up to $100 a day. People began lining up at the store and shouting, "Give me an Orange, Julius!" Eventually, the new drink would simply be called "the Orange Julius".

Little known fact:  The Orange Julius was named the official drink of the 1964 New York World's Fair.

It's so simple to make your own frothy creamsicle drink at home.

Orange Julius


12 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
16 ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Get your blender ready. All the ingredients are going to go straight in to the blender rather than in to a mixing bowl so get your blender ready first.

Add frozen orange juice concentrate, vanilla bean paste, sugar, splenda, milk, and water to your blender and blend for about 30 seconds.

Add ice to blender and blend for a minute or until ice is fully crushed and drink is smooth.

Pour the orange julius from the blender in to a tall drinking glass. Add an optional straw and whatever embellishments you desire (perhaps a candied orange peel) and serve.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Be the Best Musical Genius with Incredibox

I know this is not food related, but I am addicted to this new site called Incredibox.  You can create all these neat little 30 second clips of songs and share them through social media such as Facebook or Twitter, or email your selection to friends and family.  Good fun if you want to waste hours of your life- perhaps you are waiting for Santa to arrive, or maybe just the plumber with a "I'll be there between 9am and 2pm, so just sit and wait for me all day" type of schedule.  Either reason is valid, so here ya go!

When you get bored with those sounds, try Version 1.

Here is my composition called Adrift.  Can you beat it with your own?  Post yours in the comments section below!
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Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Blueberry Season Again!

A perfect excuse for pie!  I decided to create my very first lattice crust, and added hearts for good measure. If you want to see which fruits and veggies are ripe for picking in your area, go here.  Support your local farms!  If you can't find a farmstand in your area, then support the local businesses who purchase from your local farms.  Trader Joe's is one of many businesses which do so, and their prices are fantastic!

For my blueberry pie recipe, click here.  Stay tuned for my awesome cherry pie recipe on Monday!  The sweet Bing cherries are ripe and ready to bake!

Happy picking!
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