Positively Perfect Pies

Delicious pies start with the perfect crust, followed by fresh ingredients. There are a few tips for making the perfect pie.

How to cheat on your pie assignment.
One year I was assigned pies at Thanksgiving dinner. I had worked three 12 hour night shifts in a row up until the day before thanksgiving. I slept until about three in the afternoon then I was going to get up and make the pies, I was planning on my daughters help. I did not get a very cooperative response from her about doing this. I went to the store to buy the ingredients in a less than happy mood. I walked around the store collecting all the fresh ingredients. Since it was November and I lived in a town 90 miles from anywhere else. Fresh berries were not available so I bought frozen. As I was reaching in to get them, I noticed in the next case frozen triple berry pies which said hand made. In that instant My common sense took a vacation and I reached for the frozen pies and returned all the other ingredients.
I went home removed the pies from their aluminum foil trays and put them in my decorative pie pans and baked them. They looked absolutely irresistible. My son arrived from out of town just as I was removing the pies and he commented on how wonderful they looked. I patted myself on the back feeling I had accomplished the greatest heist. He walked over to the garbage to throw something away and saw the pie wrappers, he looked over at the pies then he looked at me and in shock he said “YOU bought pies, and you’re passing them off as your own?” He was shocked since I had made pies from scratch his own life. I swore him to secrecy. My daughter came home to the delicious aroma of pies she said “you made them already I wanted to help” My son started laughing uncontrollably, and she knew I had cheated. I swore them both to secrecy.
Next day, I take these beautiful pies into my sister’s house parading them very ceremoniously. Everyone is ooohing and aahhing, as their mouths are watering for the delicious homemade Stacy pies. We eat a delicious homemade Thanksgiving dinner, which for my sister is a once a year feat. We follow it up with pies, everyone is raving at the deliciousness of the pies and how wonderful of a cook I am. Just then my two kids start laughing uncontrollably. I give them the evil eye. Everyone else is confused about what is so funny, then they look at their pies and they look at me and all at once they all say, “YOU BOUGHT PIES, and you put them in your own pie pans to make them look homemade!” I was caught. They have never let me live that deception down.

How to make homemade pies
One year in Relief Society an 86 year old woman came to teach pies. She had made pies at a local cherry farm and sold them for over 50 years.
Pie Lady Perfect Pie Crusts
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
2 1/2 cups fresh flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup ice water

Combine flour, salt and Crisco in a bowl. Using a pastry blender cut the Crisco into the flour until evenly blended. Slowly sprinkle in ½ the water mixing with a fork add small amounts of water until the flour is evenly distributed, DO NOT OVER WORK THE DOUGH. Form the dough into a ball on a lightly floured counter. Gently roll outward until it is ¼ inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place in the pie pan gently pressing into the corners. Do not stretch the dough. Any tears can be fixed by pressing gently together with a wet finger. This makes 1 double crust.

Baked pie shell

Prepare pie shell as above, place in pie tin, prepare edge. Pierce the entire bottom and sides of pan with a fork. Bake at 350º for 15 min until lightly brown and bubbly looking. Cool completely before adding filling. There are many other remedies for preventing big bubbles on the bottom of the pan such as beans and metal chains. Piercing works great just pierce to excess.

Decorative crusts, lattice, cutouts

Fillings

 

Razzleberry pie (I do not use blueberries or strawberries although some people do)
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup water
5 cups of berries, raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries (Frozen is acceptable)

Combine cornstarch and sugar stir until mixed well, add to water in saucepan. Bring to boil, add 1 cup of berries boil until thick and bubbly about 10-15 min, gently fold other berries in. I like to keep 2 cups of berries out and put them in the pie shell so that there are some nice whole berries in the pie. Carefully place top crust on and seal the edges. Make any decorative edges and tops you desire. Vent the top. Bake on the BOTTOM rack in a 375º degree oven for 1 hour. You can cover the edges with tin foil if you desire. Removing half way through baking, to prevent edges getting too brown. When top is golden brown and juices are bubbling the pie is done. Cool before eating.

Pecan Pie
3 eggs
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups pecans chopped coursley

Combine all ingredients and pour into a pie shell. Use pecan halves to decorate top if desired. Bake at 350º on bottom rack for 1 hour. Cool completely before cutting.
Cream Pie fillings.

I don’t have a good custard filling recipe so I used a cooked pudding.
2 ½ cup milk
1 egg
1 small box cooked pudding or ½ of a large box
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients in pan, cook over medium heat until boiling, remove from heat. Pour into baked pie crust. Chill 2-3 hours.

Options coconut cream, banana cream with fresh banana slices. For French silk let chocolate pudding cool completely then fold in fresh whipped cream before putting in the shell.

Lemon Meringue
I use the boxed lemon cooked pudding
Mix according to package directions and poor into cooked pie shell.
Whip egg whites which were separated from filling. Add ½ cup sugar half way through process. Once stiff peaks are formed spread over cooled filling, going completely to crust, meringue will shrink during cooking so you need to make sure it is touching the crust so it does not pull away.
Preheat oven to 375º degrees. Place pie on top oven rack. Bake pie in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Watch this carefully so you don’t burn the peaks. Eggs do not get fully cooked. There are warning about eating raw egg. So please use only the freshest eggs and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Downhome apple pie
8-10 sliced granny smith apples
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice plus a pinch of nutmeg

Fill large pan with apples, butter and water, bring to rolling boil. Cover reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. Meanwhile combine sugar, cornstarch and spices mix well, add to apple mixture. Stir until thick and bubbly. Pour int pie shell. Cover with second pie shell or crumb topping (recipe below). Pierce pie crust several times to vent air. Bake 1 hour on bottom rack of over 375º

Traditional crumb topping
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on pie filling

Cover with tin foil for half of baking time

Oatmeal Crumb topping
1⁄2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 cup flour
3⁄4 cup oatmeal (any type but instant)
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on pie filling

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