Tag Archives: Pie

Very Berry Pie Bars

24 May

Memorial weekend signals the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to celebrate the sunshine than picnics, BBQ’s, and lots of ripe berries?

Very Berry Pie Bars 5

Can’t decide if you crave pies vs. dessert bars?  No problem.  We can go hybrid and do it BOGO style.  Two in one.  Bargain hunters, this one’s for you.

It’s a win-win combination.  Think of it:  a buttery and toothsome crust, plus crumbly topping with hints of zesty lemon strewn throughout.  Creamy, thick filling bursting with sweet, juicy berries.

Very Berry Pie Bars

These fresh berry pie bars are the best of both worlds, with tasty pie crust, crumble topping, and plummy filling.   Minus the fuss of actually making a pie.  This “pie” comes in the form of  an easygoing, happy-go-lucky pie bar that’s easily made ahead of time and even easier to dig into.

Very Berry Pie Bars 3

These berry pie bars can happily be made the night before, chilled in fridge, and sliced when ready to devour.  I sliced mine into smaller squares to feed a crowd, and there was plenty to go around.  For easy serving plus cute factor, just house the individual squares in pretty cupcake liners.  These are best served chilled, so keep ’em cold until dessert time.  They won’t sit around long once you bring them out.

Enjoy, and happy Memorial weekend!

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VERRY BERRY PIE BARS (makes one 9×13)

For the crust and topping:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup white sugar
Zest of one large lemon
1 1/2 cups salted butter, cold

For the filling:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups white sugar
1 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Juice of one large lemon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
30 oz any mixture of fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously grease a 9×13 pan along bottom and sides.  Set aside.

In bowl of a food processor, lightly pulse together the flour, sugar, and lemon zest just until blended.  Cut cold butter into slices and add to bowl.  With a few short pulses, cut the butter into flour mixture just until mixture is crumbly.  Small bits of butter remaining is fine.  (Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor.)

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the flour/butter mixture for the topping.  Pour the rest of the mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan.  Press firmly for an even layer of crust on bottom of pan.  (It’s easy to press evenly with the flat bottom of a water glass or ramekin.)  Bake crust about 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove baked crust from oven, but keep oven on.

Combine eggs, sugar, Greek yogurt, flour, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Carefully fold in the berries with rubber spatula.  Gently spread filling over the baked crust.  Sprinkle reserved topping over the filling, to make an even layer of crumble topping.

Bake about 75 min to 90 min or until topping turns golden and bars are set.  Cool completely at room temp before putting in fridge to chill.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Cut and serve cold.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Annie’s Eats, via the Pastry Queen

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Best Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust

16 Dec

I have a little confession.  Despite my affection for all things sweet, I don’t like cooked apples.  Wait a minute.  I do love fresh, crispy apples.  Just don’t love them cooked, is all.  That puts me in the little category of people who regularly pass up the apple pies on the dessert buffet.  But here is a glimmer of hope.  I gave this Best Apple Pie a chance, and new door has opened up.  There’s no turning back.

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust

Hubby would never have imagined I’d eat, let alone bake, an apple pie.  I’m good with every kind of fruit pie, but he’s never seen me dart for the apple one.  For reasons still mysterious, I began searching high and low for apple pie recipes.  After digging through countless variations, I settled on this tried and true version.  And now I’m done digging.  This here is the only apple pie I’ve ever really liked!

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust 3

What makes this apple pie extra memorable is the fabulous flaky butter crust.  We always prefer using butter rather than shortening  whenever possible.  This is our go-to recipe for a flaky butter crust; perfect for any sweet or savory pies.  Technically, one could use store bought pie dough.  But it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say this out loud:  store-bought pie dough won’t produce the buttery deliciousness of a homemade crust.

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The pie dough needs a bit of time to chill.  If you plan ahead for that, you’re good.  Try to stick with Granny Smith apples for best texture and balance of tart vs. sweet.

You’ll love that this apple pie can be totally prepared ahead of time.  In fact, it’s best that way.  Bake it and let it set overnight or at least several hours, so the filling has time to cool and thicken.  The pie reheats beautifully, especially if you’re going for a la mode.  Vanilla bean ice cream and warm pie…mmm.

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust 6

Add this to your dessert list for the holidays… or really any day.  Apple pie lovers in your life will go nuts over this one.  That non-apple-pie eater just might experience a conversion to the other side.   Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 8 servings)

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
3 TB all purpose flour
3 TB  water, with 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in it
1 TB vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
8 Granny Smith apples – peeled and sliced (not too thin)

For the dough (double crust):
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup very cold ice water
1 egg white, beaten
coarse sugar for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the dough (make ahead): 
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, just until there remains small pea-sized butter chunks in the dough.  Gently stir in 1 TB of ice cold water at a time, until mixture starts to hold together.  It should be pliable enough to stick together when pinched, but not sticky.  Work the dough sparingly, using either pastry cutter or cold fingers.  The key is not to overwork the dough (avoid using food processor.)  The little chunks of butter should still be visible.

Gently form 2 dough balls (1 slightly larger than the other) and wrap well in plastic.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight.)

To make the pie:
Preheat oven to 425F and place rack on lower middle position.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a roux.  Add water with dissolved cornstarch, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to barely simmer.  Keep sauce warm while you roll out the crust.

Roll the larger dough ball out to fit bottom/sides of  9-inch pie pan, with bit extra for edges.  If dough is firm, you may need to roll it out twice.  Place crust in bottom of pie pan.  Press evenly into the bottom and up sides of the pan.  Press down the edges.  Roll the smaller dough ball to fit over top of 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine apple slices with the warm sugar sauce, reserving about 1/4 cup (or enough for brushing over top crust.)  Brush bottom crust with beaten egg white.  Fill with apple mixture, mounding.  Place top crust over filling, crimping tightly at edges to ensure good seal.  Cut several slits in top crust.  Brush remaining warm sugar sauce over entire top crust.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and light dusting of cinnamon, if desired.

Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce temp to 350F and bake another 35-45 minutes, until top crust is golden brown and apples are soft.  Use thin strips of foil to cover pie edges, if they start browning too quickly.

Cool before serving.  Enjoy…it is totally worth your work!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie

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