Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pie Shield? Pie Shield!

I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond the other day in search of tart pans for a future adventure in pie (putting a small pie inside a larger one). While there I saw something called a pie shield. You put it one overt he crust before you bake the pie and leave it there until the pie exits the oven. Yes, it's somewhat like a big donut. See?

In the past, I've put aluminum foil around a pie, but the directions always say to put it on or take it off in the middle of the baking time, and that's one more think to think about. I am pleased to say that the pie shield worked so well, I asked the husband to pick up a second one since I often bake two pies at once. How well did the pie shield work?

Looks pretty darn good to me!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Decoy Pie

The pie below is a decoy, a stand-in for the real pie that will be given on Sunday. Sunday is the 50th birthday of one of our karate master instructors. Because we don't want him to know that we're doing anything for the true birthday, I'm giving him this pie today along with a card. Another pie, with Cool Whip and chocolate ice cream, will be given on Sunday, along with a larger, musical card.

I will follow this up by making three more pumpkin pies tomorrow, two for the people who come to the Sunday morning class, and one for the instructor to take home. I realize that this will mean he gets two pies in three days. As he would tell you, one can never have too much pie or too many pies.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Probably a One Off

The sons did a GORUCK Challenge last night. I had planned to shadow (follow, with camera) it, but after three straight days of migraines and one 3:00 a.m. walk in a pouring rain because the dog had not been walked before bedtime, I stayed in. I asked younger son if he wanted a post-Challenge pie, and he requested strawberry and apple. Interestingly, I found lots of recipes for said combination, and made one using honey in place of the sugar. Voila!
I'm fairly sure I will never make another of these because, at least to me, it was not all that good. I couldn't really taste apple or strawberry in the filling; it simply tasted bland. Even younger son gave it a somewhat blah reaction. The upside is that my pie crust seems to be flakier with each and every pie. Practice, practice, practice. Will that get one of my pies to Carnegie Hall?

Monday, July 8, 2013

"The" Capieke

I was a bit nervous, this being the first time I'd made a capieke for someone who has never lived at my address. Having made one as requested successfully gave my confidence a boost. Step one, make a peach pie.
I even managed to flute the edges in a somewhat coherent fashion, though since it's going to be encased in a cake, no one will really know. For the cake and icing, I used recipes from the King Arthur Flour website. I must admit that I was tempted more than once to lick my fingers, but there's that nutrition challenge thing I'm doing. Here's the final product, no pie edges visible.
I left the decorating up to the people who requested the capieke. Background: It was her birthday. She likes cake; he prefers pie. Usually, she ends up eating the whole cake. They thought this might give each of them a treat. It also provided treats for their neighbors and a woman in the zumba class as word got around of this strange concoction.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


The only photo is of the end result, but when I was asked to make a capieke ("pie" inside "cake") for someone not in my immediate family, I figured I should practice. The request was for a peach pie inside a white cake, with cream cheese icing. Basically, I made a peach pie then put it into the cake pan (one a bit taller than the normal 13x9x2 cake pan) and spread batter over the top. The husband pronounced it quite edible. The problem was that older son and I are doing a nutrition challenge with our workout group which meant we couldn't help with the capieke consumption. The husband ate all of it that he could before it started to taste a bit alcoholic; that amount was enough to make me relax a bite about what I had agreed to do.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Honey of an Apple Pie

I only have one photo, but I've actually made three of this pie. Older son and I are doing a 90-Day Nutrition Challenge, part of which is not eating anything containing refined sugar. I replaced the sugar in this apple pie with honey, and the family actually prefers it to the same recipe made with sugar.
The filling on the pie above came out a bit watery. For the one I made today, I added a bit more flour to the filling, and it's pretty much the consistency of the pie done with sugar. I expect I may be making another one tomorrow since I don't think any of the one I made today will be around after older son has breakfast. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yet Another Capieke

After being asked to make a capieke for someone not in my own family, I figured I should practice a bit.
This is a blueberry pie inside a chocolate cake. I did this one differently than the others I've done. For this one, I actually baked the pie first. I then placed the pie into the sheet pan full of cake batter, covered the top with aluminum foil, and then baked the cake as directed. When the cake was done, the sides were raised about half an inch higher than the top of the pie. I carefully cut pieces of cake out of each side and evened off the top. Once it was frosted, it looked just like a chocolate sheet cake, at least until it was cut.

Friday, June 7, 2013


It's not every day that I make six pies; two is more the norm. But the party following last weekend's black belt exam in Myo Sim Karate and Kendo called for potluck pies. There is also the tradition of presenting one of the master instructors with his own pumpkin pie to take home. I planned on four for the party and one for the master and ended up with those plus one for the family. I started with key lime since the crust
and the whole pie

each only bake for short periods of time. The meringue topping comes later.

After the key lime, it was on to the two pumpkin pies. Unfortunately, I got distracted and forgot to turn the oven temperature down after the first 15 minutes. This resulted in two slightly overdone pies.
Since I didn't think an overdone pie was a fitting gift for a master instructor, especially the one who was getting it, I made a third one.
Fortunately, I had made extra dough for the crust and had extra ingredients (chiefly pumpkin, condensed milk, and eggs), so whipping up one more was not at all difficult.The wife of the karate master names apple pie as her favorite, so I did that for her and the other fruit-filled pie lovers.
I actually may have over-filled this, but the more, the merrier, eh?

I did the mocha pie last because it requires no cooking at all. Unfortunately, with no into and out of the oven, I forgot to take any photos of the mocha in progress. I did get a shot of all six, though the key lime still lacked its meringue and the mocha lacked its espresso whipped cream topping.
I added those right before leaving for the party.

The pies were a huge hit at the party; the key lime was particularly praised. One person added some of the hostess' extra-jalapeno guacamole to the mocha pie and suggested we combine the two and go into business. Another person added the guacamole to the dregs left in the pie plate and agreed that the two went quite well together. We brought home empty pie plates and just a small portion of pumpkin. The husband has been doing his best to get rid of that and the slightly overdone pumpkin pie I kept for the family. Older son and I are doing a 90-day nutrition challenge, under which we stopped eating processed sugar the day after the exam and party. Yeah, somewhat sucks to be us right now on National Donut Day, but there are some benefits. Perhaps I'll blog about those elsewhere.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Is for Apple ... M is for Mother

I'm having my mom over for dinner tomorrow, Mother's Day, and asked her what kind of pie she wanted for dessert. She said whatever the men in my house wanted, though preferably not something crunchy given her dentures. The husband wanted apple, and older son had no objections, so apple it was, made a day in advance since tomorrow is one of those busy days. I used a mixture of Granny Smith and golden delicious apples, and brushed the top crust with egg white and sprinkled sugar. I do like the way it turned out; it may, in fact, be one of the most beautiful pies I've made. Here's hoping it tastes as good as it looks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

And So, This Pie Has No Photo

One of our Myo Sim karate master instructors who is also an entire information technology department has been doing more IT and less karate, so I made him a pie of the pumpkin variety. Because there were numerous other things going on in my life on the day I made the pie (which is the date of this post thanks to the ability to backdate things), I did not think to photograph said pie. I made it, though, and delivered it, and I expect that at least some of it was consumed that same evening.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It Started with Samoas

In the wake of last weekend's successful citrus pie, I asked younger son if there were a type of pie he wanted me to make this weekend. On the back of last week's recipe, he scrawled "coconut cream pie (a bit crunchy, if possible) w/ chocolate chips + chocolate drizzle on top w/ caramel+ pretzel crust (possibly w/ a bit of plain graham cracker in the crust, too)." He then verbally added, "Samoa in pie form." In researching the exact composition of samoas, I discovered the recipe for a Samoa Pie. This made it entirely too easy, so I decided instead to create a pie from the scrawled instructions as well as the email amendment that the crust be "as thick as the one on last week's pie." I have apparently succeeded, though it took bits and pieces of six different recipes to do so.

First up, caramel sauce and toasted coconut. I made the caramel sauce last night and am desperately hoping that younger son takes it home with him tomorrow. I have a love-hate relationship with caramel. I love eating it and hate that it is basically made from sugar, butter, and cream.
Next up, the crust. I started with biscotti for the caramel that younger son requested, and added some crushed pretzels and graham crackers. For sugar, I used powdered instead of granulated and guessed at the amount of melted butter needed. Actually, I guessed at all the amounts with the aim of making the requested thick crust.
Here's the baked result. You can't really see it here, but it is thick.
For the coconut cream part, I used a recipe that did not call for the double boiler I would have had to improvise. The recipe didn't specify sweetened or unsweetened coconut. I used unsweetened since that was what I had left over from making granola. As with last week's citrus pie, the amount of filling wasn't quite as much as I might have liked. Instead of hiding that fact with whipped cream, I sprinkled the top with toasted coconut. First, though, I made a circle of caramel sauce around the outside, letting it seep down a bit between the coconut cream filling and crust. On the top I drizzled melted chocolate chips and sprinkled some mini chips. The end result? The art of pie in more ways than one.
Younger son has indicated that I met his challenge quite handily. In fact, I expect that by morning the pie will be but a pleasant memory.

Next up? There's a recipe for cinnamon roll swirl cake that looks promising not to mention quicker and easier than the homemade cinnamon rolls that are part of our Christmas morning routine.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bill Smith Makes a Mean Pie

A friend sent me the link to an NPR story, "A North Carolina Pie That Elicits an 'Oh My God' Response" that included the recipe for Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie. I don't know who this Bill Smith is, but he has a mean pie recipe that starts with, interestingly enough, a crust made of saltine crackers.

The filling is made with lemon juice, lime juice, or a mixture of the two. I used a mixture. The filling also contains condensed milk. In my opinion, it is hard to go wrong with condensed milk unless you consider the 14-ounce can to be the single serving size.
The amount of filling that the recipe yielded actually looked a bit skimpy when added to the saltine crust. A top layer of whipped cream solved that problem. Younger son, he of the New Year's resolution to "eat pie" judged it to be a winner.

Monday, April 15, 2013

More Mocha

Older son had asked for a mocha pie and would have gotten the most recent one had our karate instructor not been there to get the one I made earlier in the week. So I made another one on Saturday. It didn't last very long, only until Sunday night. Coming soon to a kitchen near me will be a citrus pie with a saltine cracker crust. A friend heard it mentioned in an NPR broadcast and sent me the link to the recipe. A saltine cracker crust ... intriguing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gifting Pies

It's much easier to gift a pie using a pie carrier. The pie inside the carrier shown above was a mocha pie taken to one of our karate master instructors. I normally give him a pumpkin pie, but when I learned he might like a mocha pie, did one of those instead. I'll find out tomorrow what he thought of it.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Pronounced "Ka-Pike" and Spelled "Capieke"

Several years ago, I made what might have been a mistake, asking younger son if he wanted a cake or a pie for his birthday. He asked for a pie baked inside of a cake, and it's become something of a tradition. I've done several different pies inside several different cakes. Some have worked better than others. This year's is above; it was a raspberry pie inside a chocolate cake.
Here it is as a work-in-progress. As you can see, the pie is not necessarily pie-shaped. I did it that way the first couple of years, using frozen pie crusts. They don't work as well as homemade crust in terms of actually baking inside the cake, but it's hard to shape the homemade crust around the pie filling and have it really be pie-shaped. When it comes right down to it, though, shape doesn't matter. With the cake baked around it,  you don't really see a pie shape in the cut slices. Even if it doesn't look like a pie inside a cake when it's sliced into pieces, it tastes like both pie and cake.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Just Reward

Younger son came to town this past weekend to run the annual Ten Miler. I asked if he wanted a pie. He replied that he wanted a pie laden with calories to offset those he would burn in the race. I suggested Mocha Pie from a recipe I got in the Art of Pie class I took a couple years ago. The crust is chocolate wafers, pretzels, butter, and sugar. The filling contains, among other things, cream cheese, eggs and more butter. The topping is coffee-flavored whipped cream. Here's the pie without it.
And here is it with the topping.
What more could one ask for than energy from fat and sugar as well as caffeine? Younger son's opinion when asked if it met his expectations? Success! By the way, he didn't do badly in the Ten Miler, finishing it in 85 minutes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pi=3.14, Pie=3 (at least today)

Younger son has moved back to Virginia from Washington (the state), and I promised to make him a welcoming pie. As things turned out, I ended up flying to Denver and driving him back from Rawlins, Wyoming through something that the Weather Channel called Winter Storm Q. I do believe I may be in the running for Mother of the Year this year, though there's plenty of time left in which I can backslide.

I did make the welcoming pie, yesterday, when younger son arrived to leave his dog here while he went skiing with friends. It's a butterscotch cream pie, with walnuts added.

The cream filling is a bit creamier than I had anticipated, and I did not do either of the suggested toppings, meringue or whipped cream. It was pronounced a success and will not go to waste at the same time it goes to waist.

I also made two pumpkin pies, one for us and one for one of our karate master instructors whose favorite pie is, what else, pumpkin.
He got the one on the right, while I kept the one on the left for us. I expect it to be gone before the weekend is out.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Look

My blog, my rules. The pies have it, at least for now. Before the advent of the new year, I made my first lemon meringue pie, to mark younger son's being home for the holidays. I also made the usual two pumpkin pies for Christmas and was somewhat dismayed that it took almost a week for both of them to be consumed. Older son offered the excuse that Christmas morning's homemade cinnamon rolls were too filling and satisfied his appetite for sweets.

The first pies of 2013 will be served at tonight's dinner party. I am not good at hostessing such things, despite the fact that they offer a handy reason to clean that portion of the house the guests will see. Tonight's gathering is a sukiyaki dinner. Our senior kendo master instructor will do the cooking at the table. I'm doing appetizers (a vegetable tray and a cheese and cracker tray), rice in the rice cooker, and desserts. Thinking of a pie to go with Japanese food was a disaster, so I settled on key lime since it is at least a bit exotic and apple, for an American  contrast.

Here's the key lime (meringue tips highlighted by older son using a blowtorch).
 And here's the apple.
I will admit to having cheated on these in that I did not prepare the crusts for either. What with the picking up and cleaning, I opted for store-bought graham cracker and frozen crusts. The reason that the top of the apple pie looks so ghastly is that I followed the directions on the crust packaging rather than followed my instincts. The directions said to cut off the fluted edges of the top crust before putting it atop the filled bottom crust. I did despite thinking there wouldn't be enough crust there, and guess what. I was right. It was quite difficult to get the edges sealed which explains the rather large cracks. Live and learn. Next time, I will trust my instincts or make my own crust.