Light Strawberry Pie

So, thanks to Mammy P, I’ve been alerted to the fact that it’s National Pie Week in Britain. Woot! Petrol! Flat! Bugger!

Let us all celebrate with pie, shall we?

This week I made a Strawberry Pie for no special occasion. It’s another pre-baked pie crust pie, with a chilled filling. Karen from Sassymonkey sent me a link to this very informative article last week about the legalities of re-posting recipes. Apparently, the list of ingredients is not copywritable (is that a real word?), and so you are free to repost it (it is considered polite to give a reference to the original source). However, the text that describes how to make the pie is copywrited, and can’t be simply copied onto your site — but you can rephrase it in your own words, especially if you are describing steps you took yourself to create the item in question.

So, this week, we’ll have more recipe details than usual. And you’ll want them, because this pie was SO easy, and SO yummy. It’s from Company’s Coming Pies, which I ordered online, which is marked “Not for individual resale” on the back, so I guess this pie is ILLEGAL. Illegally good! Har har!

First, here’s my crust:


This one was brilliant. I made it with shortening for the first time, because I’ll be seeing my mother over the Easter long weekend, and I intend to have an intensive one-day pie-making seminar with her, and she’d freak out if I wasn’t using Crisco. The mixing went really well, I took my time rolling it out and it went great, and all in all I was super happy with it.

It smelled so good coming out of the oven, I almost just broke it up and ate it plain. But I held out for filling. Here’s how:

Take 1/2 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and one 10 ounce (284g) package of frozen sliced strawberries in syrup – partly thawed – and mix them in a bowl.

Take one 7g package of gelatin and prepare according to the directions (sprinkle over 1/4 cup water, add 1/4 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve). Add to the strawberry mix and stir until the strawberries thaw completely.

Then put it in the fridge to “chill until syrupy.” I expected that to take about 1/2 hour. One half hour later, I had strawberry jello. Oops.

I think standard protocol in this case is to heat it in a pot until it melts and then re-chill. However, I was in a terrible rush to get out the door to pick up the Captain from school, so instead I just threw it in the microwave for one minute and stirred the heck out of it until I had a bunch of strawberry jello bits. Hence, my finished product is a little lumpy. But still delicious!

Anyway. To finish up, take 1 cup whipping cream and whip it until it is stiff. Then fold it into the syrupy strawberries, put it in the pie shell, and chill.

Here’s the finished pie (note the lumpy quality):

Strawberry Pie

But oh so yummy. This would be so perfect for a summer barbeque or a tea-time baby shower. MMMM.

Next week I’ll be making a pear pie, and after that, I plan to try some savoury pies. Does anyone have a favourite main-course pie they’d recommend trying?

Molasses Lemon Pie

I made this one for my book club meeting last night. We’re supposed to make a food that relates to the book in some way, but by the time I remembered about the food part, I’d already returned the book to the library, and had no idea what those people were eating. So, pie it was!

The book was March by Geraldine Brooks, which is a “companion” book to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I remembered this scene from Little Women in which Amy steals some limes, or has some stolen from her, or something, so I thought I’d make a key-lime pie. But while looking for a lime-based recipe, I found this one instead, for Molasses Lemon Pie.

The bottom is a regular pie crust, and the filling is molasses and lemon (duh). The lattice top is actually cookie dough.

Molasses Lemon Pie

The recipe described this one as being very unusual, and so it was. The taste is quite different than any other pie I’ve ever had, and the cookie topping is definitely unique. So the first few bites are a little odd, but once you get used to it…yum. Despite all the molasses in there, it isn’t as sweet as you might think, and the hint of lemon adds just the perfect amount of tartness. The cookie dough was a little tough to work with (hence the poor lattice work — eventually I just laid some pieces on top of each other), but the pastry went fairly well.

The pie was a big hit at book club and I’d definitely make this one again.

I’m not going to post the recipe today, and in fact, I’ve removed the other two I posted, because I’m worried about copyright and stuff like that. Plus, I love Edna Staebler and don’t want to steal any of her royalties by providing an online database of her work.

But if you do want to make this lovely, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you personally.

In the meantime, I skipped breakfast, so doesn’t that entitle me to some tea and pie for a mid-morning break? I believe so!

Lemon Puff Pie

At the suggestion of Karen from Virtually There, I got my hands on a copy of “Pies and Tarts with Schmecks Appeal,” by Edna Staebler. If you’re from the KW area in Southern Ontario, you’re sure to have heard of Edna and her remarkable line of cookbooks with a Mennonite slant. Unfortunately, most of her books are out of print now, but I was able to find one online for a ridiculous $6, including the shipping. It’s an absolute steal for a gem of a book — it’s chock full of awesome advice, snappy quips, and unique and original recipes.

Karen suggested I start with the Lemon Puff, so that’s this week’s pie. More important than the filling, however, is the crust. Edna recommends using a pat-in crust for single crust pies — no rolling involved.



Let’s take a moment to let that sink in, shall we?

Of course I had to try it out.

Here’s the crust being mixed — directly in the pie plate. Unbelievable.

crust mixing

My friend RheostaticsFan sent me a recipe for pat-in crust a while back, but it was for tiny little pies made in jam jars (which I totally have to try, and soon). I had no idea the same concept could be used for a full-on pie. Of course, my mother would be appalled, but thank goodness, she doesn’t read this blog!

Here’s the finished crust (unbaked):


The crust was a little strange — kind of like really soft PlayDoh. The end result is tasty but definitely not the same light-and-flaky layers of real pastry. I’d use it again if I were in a rush, but in general I think I’m going to continue with perfecting traditional pastry.

Here’s the pie with the filling, after baking.

finished pie

Not too glamorous looking, I must admit.

But oooooh, so delicious.

When I was little, my mother made a dessert called Lemon Gems that I adored (she actually got the recipe originally from the infamous Toilet Paper Woman). On special occasions, like my birthday, my mom would make me a pan of Lemon Gems and YUM YUM YUMMITY YUM YUM.

This pie is like one giant pie-shaped Lemon Gem. I could seriously eat the whole thing.

What I really love about this pie is that it is very light. You could easily have a slice after a giant dinner and not feel bloated and gross and like you ate too much sugar. It’s the perfect topper to a dinner party, and would also be so great with tea at a fancy party (although you’d need to make three or four of them, because if I were only having tea with this pie, I would easily have room for three or four slices, and I WOULD SO EAT THAT).

In fact, I had some for breakfast this morning. THAT’S HOW IRRESISTIBLE. I can’t even THINK about giving away slices. THEY ARE MINE.

So, in a word, schmecky.

Drop me an email if you’d like the recipe.

Black Bottom Pie

I made this week’s pie for a chocolate party we went to on Saturday. It’s a Black Bottom Pie, which is a layer of chocolate custard on the bottom, with a light and fluffy rum-flavoured custard on top.

Here’s the pie with the chocolate part added (the crust is already baked and finished):

chocolate part

And here’s what it looked like after the top layer was added.

finished pie

Sure, sure, it looks pretty, doesn’t it? But this pie was definitely my least favourite to date.

Part of the problem is that I did not whisk continuously as I added the eggs to the hot milk to make the custard. As a result, my light-and-fluffy top part has egg chunks in it. There is a definite texture problem.

But on top of that, the filling seems kind of tasteless. Also, although the crust was one of my smoothest crust experiences ever (rolling out on parchment paper really helped reduce my stress A LOT), it tasted salty to me. It could just be that everything else at the party was loaded with chocolate and sugar, so the pastry tasted salty in comparison. Still, I have no interest in eating the leftovers of this pie. Anyone want them?


See that chocolate stuff next to the leftover pie? That’s my famous chocolate mousse cake — it’s called Velvet Lush — and its leftovers are WELL worth eating. Hands off! Mine!

My friend Izabela was there, and she told me that the pie was her favourite dessert there, before she even knew that I was the one who made it. So that’s a hopeful thing. But overall, I would not make this one again.

Speaking of Izabela, she had just returned from a three week long trip to Sweden for work. She said that the people of Sweden are the thinnest she’s ever seen; Izabela herself is a very thin woman and she said she felt on the heavy side of things while walking down the street. And I thought, “Memo to self: Never visit Sweden.”

But then I thought, “Hm, perhaps Sweden is the only country in the world where I might actually be considered busty.”

Memo to self: Visit Sweden. Pack the good bras.

Send me an email if you’d like the recipe.

Butterscotch Pie

Let me open this post by declaring that I am the Worst. Wife. EVER.

Last night we had a bit of a midnight ruckus with Little Miss Sunshine, and so we overslept this morning. By the time everyone was up we were running late for school, and Sir Monkeypants and I were rushing around doing all the usual morning jobs in half the time.

We made it, barely, and I kissed everyone goodbye and wished them a good day, then went to help the Little Miss who was whining about something.

Later I was showering while the Little Miss watched a show, and in the shower, I was reviewing my to do list for the day: grocery shopping, blog about pie, sort Disney photos, make a birthday cake…


It’s Sir Monkeypants’ birthday today!

And I totally forgot! I mean, I didn’t forget in that I planned for presents and cake, but I totally forgot this morning, and didn’t even wish him a happy birthday! And his presents didn’t get opened! And he didn’t get fawned over as he so richly deserves!


And also, his presents this year suck. I had two totally awesome gifts in mind, and do you think I could find either of them anywhere in the city? Anywhere in Ontario, even? NO. One of them he knows about — it’s a Wii Fit — and there seems to be some sort of international shortage. You can’t even order one from American sites like

I am the kind of person who plans for and shops for birthdays very early (this comes as a huge shock to you all, I’m sure) and I’ve been shopping for a Wii Fit since Boxing Day, and there is not one to be found in the whole wide world, it seems. WTF, Nintendo? YOU SUCK AS WELL.

So on Saturday I went to the mall with the kids and I grabbed the first three things I laid my hands on as presents for him. I hate last minute shopping.

Also, I suck.

All I need now is for the birthday cake to get messed up — it’s a very complicated recipe that I have never made before — and that will complete the Birthday of Suck. It’ll be legend…wait for it…ary!

Anyway. Pie.

Last week’s pie was a gift for FameThrowa, since we missed her birthday (it was the day we left for Disney). I brought it to Ladies’ Poker on Saturday and I think it’s safe to say that it was a big hit — definitely the best pie I have made to date.

It’s a butterscotch pie, which was my Nana’s specialty, and this one definitely rivalled hers. I’m so happy!

Speaking of pies, did anyone want me to post the recipes I am using here? Or would you prefer to just marvel at the magic without the details, and pick out your favourites for the upcoming pie party? Let me know.

The butterscotch pie is another pre-baked pie crust pie, with a chilled filling. It was also my very first attempt at making meringue.

Here’s the baked crust:

Butterscotch pie crust

This one turned out okay. I’m very happy with my pastry recipe, which at the moment is 1 cup cake and pastry flour, 1/3 cup lard, and 1/2 tsp salt, with no more than 2 Tbsp water for mixing. It rolled out great, but as usual, I had trouble lifting it off the counter — it was stuck down. Next time I’m going to try to roll it out on parchment paper and see if that helps.

Also I totally forgot to prick it all over before baking, but I did weigh it down with mung beans, so I guess that was enough to minimize shrinking. I used a piece of parchment paper to line the shell to prevent the beans from sticking, and I made the paper circle by tracing the pie plate with a black marker. Then I put the paper in the pie plate marker-side-down, so if you look carefully at this pic you’ll see a weird black line running around the top of the crust. It’s marker transfer.


Anyway. I was scared of the meringue but it turned out to be very easy — thanks to my mixer — and delicious. Here’s the finished pie:

Butterscotch pie

And here’s what it looks like on the inside, after being demolished by hungry poker ladies, and also a bit squished on the car ride there:

Butterscotch pie slice

Overall, DELICIOUS. So, so good. The pastry part was awesome. I’m so happy with this one.

This weekend we are going to a chocolate party, and everyone has to bring something chocolate, so I’ll be making a Black Bottom Pie, which is almost exactly like the butterscotch pie but with chocolate custard in the middle. In addition, I’ll be making a chocolate cake (a special request from our hostess, it’s an award winning chocolate mousse cake I make). Along with Sir Monkeypants’ fancy birthday cake, I should be easily able to gain 25 pounds this week.

But it’ll be worth it!

Chocolate Creme Pie

Good heavens. Making pie really should not be this hard, should it?

So this week I made a chocolate cream pie for Sir Monkeypants’ poker buddies. This was my first experience with baking the pie crust alone, and then adding a filling that needed to chill to set.

My first attempt at the pie crust part seemed to go well. I was happy with the rolling — actually almost even circular! — and the crust in the pie plate looked good.

Then I baked it, and this is what I got:

First Attempt

Notice around the edges? It shrunk! It pulled in from the sides, and also, the bottom lifted up. I took this picture as soon as it came out of the oven, but as the crust cooled, it got smaller and smaller.

To the internet! The internet is full of pie-making snobs, let me tell you. I’m grateful for them, though. One of them had this to say on a message board: “A proper pie crust isn’t so much a recipe as it’s a spiritual quest for perfection in an imperfect world.” I feel like my quest so far has moved me farther from nirvana, not closer, but I persist. A pie samurai, I will be!

Anyway, the internet suggested that some shrinking always happens, but you can minimize it by weighing down the crust by filling it with rice or beans; properly crimping the sides, so they are stuck down to the pie plate; and being sure to prick it well all over.

I hemmed and hawed for a while, before I finally decided to chuck the first crust and try again. After all, the second one could hardly be worse, and this whole thing is supposed to be a learning process, and more practice equals more learning, right? (Naturally I ate most of the discarded crust. It was pretty good… another B+ at least.)

So here is my second version:

Second Attempt

This one was a bugger to roll out — too wet and nowhere near round — so there was mondo patching. You can still see holes in the bottom where I didn’t quite get it stuck together. On the good side, however, I feel like I had a fluting breakthrough.

Now THAT’S what I’m calling my new rock band — Fluting Breakthrough. Eat that, Coldplay!

I also baked this one with a bunch of mung beans encased in tin foil in the middle to hold it down, which worked very well to prevent bubbling and shrinking, but on the other hand, stuck to the bottom (see: too wet). I had to peel them out very carefully but even then, it kind of ripped the pastry a bit and left it looking pretty ratty.

But who cares, when you’re going to fill it with this:



And overall? Okay, I think you have to admit that this is one good looking pie:

slice of heaven?

However, it is not exactly a good tasting pie. In the first place, the first crust I made was better. This second one was overhandled and too doughy. As for the filling, it is basically store-bought vanilla pie filling with melted chocolate chips in it, and it’s too sweet, too chocolately (I never thought there could be such a thing), and has a funny fake-rum type aftertaste which I did not enjoy. I think this is the first pie I’ve made that I did not actually like, the first one that I don’t think I will make again. It’s the recipe’s fault, though, not mine.

During the First Crust Attempt Crisis, I was really ready to throw in the towel on pie. I wanted my Mommy. But I got back up on the pie horse, and I’m happy I made the second crust, even if the pie isn’t my favourite. Sir Monkeypants just left with 7/8ths of a pie — hope the poker boys are enjoying it.

So I guess I’ll be back next week. I seem to have committed on Twitter to hosting a pie tasting party when I hit 50 weeks (it’s all Crafty Mom‘s idea)…so I really need the practice!

Peach Blueberry Lattice-Top Pie

Guess what I did yesterday! I baked a pie!

I was going to make a mixed berry pie, because I found a recipe that called for frozen fruit. But when I got to the store, the only bag they had of frozen mixed berries weighed about 15 pounds and cost as much as a Yaris. I remembered that the recipe opposite the mixed berry pie, in the cookbook, was for peach-blueberry pie, so I bought frozen peaches and frozen blueberries.

Then I got home and saw it was really for peach-raspberry pie. But close enough, right?

Here it is:

Peach-Blueberry Pie

It’s not a total failure, but not a total success. The big problem here is that I did not thaw the peaches quite enough before baking. As a result, some of the peaches are a little…snappy. A little too much backbone left, if you will.

The pastry part is okay. Not as perfect as last week’s, but you can taste the improvement. I think I did not roll it out thin enough — I left it in the fridge for too long before rolling and it was pretty hard to roll it without cracking, so I quit early. The lattice part was finicky but no more so than the usual pastry nonsense. Overall, kind of a B+ crust.

Still, I kind of love this pie.

Last night I had a very contentious PTA meeting. I didn’t eat enough dinner and my low blood sugar caused me to get a little over emotional as I yelled at people. Not pretty.

Then I came home to yummy, yummy pie, and all was well in the world.

Two slices are already eaten, and I’m going to keep two more (just in case of future PTA emergencies). I’m going to throw the remaining four to the internet. Anyone want some slightly undercooked peach-blueberry?

Sugar Pie

I think I should change the name of this pie-making project from “50 weeks of Pie” to “50 weeks of Disasters.” Sheesh.

I had a lot of trouble picking a pie for this week. Most fruit is out of season, and there’s no way I’m going to spend $6 on a package of strawberries, so it’s basically apple or nothing. Non-fruit pies often have a graham cracker crust and I really want to practice my pastry skills, or they have meringue and I’m avoiding that for now.

I was going to make a chocolate cream pie, but yesterday afternoon when I finally got around to reading the recipe all the way through I realized it had to set for 24 hours before cutting. And I really wanted the pie to be ready for Thursday evening, because Sir Monkeypants was having his poker buddies over, and poker buddies equals pie testers equals less pie in my own belly. Which is good.

So at the very last minute I decided to try a Sugar Pie. I went online and cobbled together my own version from about 16 other recipes.

Here’s the result:

Sugar Pie

Looks kind of sketchy, don’t you think? It smelled good, though. And let me say, the crust was really good. I had my usual stress out and flip out and swearing festival while making it, but this time, on Karen’s advice, I cut back on the amount of water I was using and it really helped the crust hold together and not stick to the counter. The result was super flaky and super tasty — at least a B+.

Now I just have to work on rolling it out into a circle shape — I always seem to end up with a square, and then I’m trying some crazy cut-and-paste technique to fill in the sides that aren’t quite covered in the pie plate, and GACK, swearing results.

The filling wasn’t quite as successful though — it did not set. Here’s what it looked like after cutting, in all its oozing glory:

Sugar Pie, after cutting

Part of the problem is that the recipe called for an egg, and I didn’t have any, so I tried an egg replacer, which is really only good for binding, and not so good for setting stuff. Another problem is that the poker buddiers were VERY excited to see pie, and wanted to cut it as soon as possible. There’s a (slim) chance that it might have set up a bit better if I had let it sit overnight.

In the end we had to kind of scoop out the pieces with a spoon and serve them in a bowl — with a little cool whip:

Sugar Pie, in the bowl

The pie might be runny, but oh man, was it ever delicious. There is SO much sugar in this baby that we all almost went into diabetic comas. The filling is made from brown sugar, whipping cream, and a little butter, so you can see how it might be compared to eating a whole bowl of caramel ice cream topping. YUM.

But definitely a special treat — not to be eaten lightly!

I think if I were to make this again, I’d do tarts instead. They’d be smaller, so not so much sugar overload, and if they didn’t quite set up, it wouldn’t matter as much.

I’ve ordered a couple of pie cookbooks online and they hopefully will arrive in time for next week. I’d like to try something new, but if the books don’t get here in time, I think I’ll just do apple again — I’m encouraged by my pastry this week and a fruit pie, with a topper, would be great practice.