(Happy PI day 2015*)

PI Plate

“A cherry pie is . . . ephemeral. From the moment it emerges from the oven it begins a steep decline: from too hot, to edible, to cold, to stale, to moldy, and finally to a post-pie state where only history can tell you that it was once considered food. The pie is a parable of human life.”
― Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World
I came across that quote and thought it was apropos for this blog, although I cannot perceive a pie ever getting past the “edible” stage at my house.
For some folks, pie was the first thing special in their lives. Others it was for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays and for one person I talked to: pie sealed marriages.
The fact of the matter is when you make a homemade pie, you use your hands with love and care to peel the apples that were picked at their prime, make the dough and embellish with slits and designs on the top and when they come out of the oven, nice memories are made.

Apple Pie
Pies can celebrate a harvest, warm hearts and put a grin on your face from ear to ear.
I’d like to give you a piece of the pie, here are some awesome pie recipes for you.
It’s easy as pie! Hint: It’s the crust that makes the pie!

APPLE PIE
Makes 1 Apple Pie

Ingredients:
Pastry
3 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (or Spelt flour)
1 Pinch Salt
1/4 teas. Sugar
3 Sticks Butter (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 -3/4 Cup Cold Orange Juice (from 2 oranges)
1 Egg (wash – to brush on top crust)

Filling:
12 – 15 Apples – sliced thin (Granny Smiths, etc.)
1 teas Cinnamon
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
Zest from 2 oranges (reserve O.J. for pastry)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400 f.
Cut very cold butter into flour, salt and sugar until course and pea sized. Add very cold O.J. and mix just until a ball forms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing filling.
Peel, core and slice apples very thin. In a food processor, pulse the sugar with orange zest then toss in bowl with the sliced apples and set about 30 min.
Roll out dough on floured surface and cover bottom of pie plate with half (of the rolled out dough). With a slotted spoon, scoop the apple slices and pile high into the pie plate. (Reserve the remaining liquid from the apple / sugar mixture to reduce and save to use on oatmeal, pancakes, etc.)
Top with the second half of the dough. Brush with egg wash, cut slits in the top and bake for approximately 1 hour.
Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Lemon and Lavender infused Honey Pie

Makes 1 Pie
Ingredients:
Pastry:
1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (or Spelt flour)
1 Pinch Salt
1/4 teas. Sugar
1 1/2 Sticks Frozen Butter (cut into very small cubes)
1/2 -3/4 Cup Ice Cold Water
Filling:
1 Cup Honey (plus extra for glaze)
4 Large Eggs (beaten)
3 Tablespoons Butter (unsalted)
1 Zest of one Lemon (plus extra for garnish)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
4 teaspoons Lavender Buds (plus extra for garnish)
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 325 f.  Cut butter into flour, salt and sugar until the texture is between peas and cornmeal. Add 1/2 of the very cold water and mix. Keep adding 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix just until a ball starts to form. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 min. while preparing filling.
Bring double boiler to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add honey, lemon zest and lavender buds and steep for 20 – 30 min. Strain and add the lemon juice and butter until it is melted. Slowly drizzle into beaten eggs while whisking until mixed thoroughly. Let cool to room temperature.
Roll out dough on floured surface and cover bottom of pie plate. Use a fork to perforate the bottom of the dough so it won’t bubble up. Pour filling into the pie crust and bake for approx. 50min or until the center is set and top is golden brown. Let cool slightly.
Glaze with remaining warm honey and garnish with lemon zest and lavender buds.
Serve warm.

Postcard Key Lime Pie

This recipe was derived from old postcards as well as experience and a little help from my friend Karen.
It is a pretty basic and simple recipe and using the freshest and highest quality ingredients is paramount.
Makes: one 9” pie
INGREDIENTS
Crust:
1 Sleeve Graham Crackers
1/2 Cup Sugar (more or less depending on your taste for sweetness)
2 – 3 OZ. Melted Butter
Filling:
4 LG Fresh Eggs – separated (Farmer’s market eggs if possible)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup Key Lime Juice – more or less depending on the tartness you prefer
(If fresh Key Limes aren’t available to you, use Nellie and Joe’s famous Key West Lime Juice)

Top: With fresh whipped cream and zest from limes.
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350f. Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Finely crumble the Graham Crackers in a Cuisinart or by placing in a ZipLock baggie and running it over with a rolling pin. Place the Graham Cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl and slowly add the melted butter mixing it all together until it just starts to stick together. Transfer to a 9” pie dish (I like to use Pyrex) and form to the dish. Place in oven for 10 min.
In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk (use rubber spatula to get all the condensed milk out of the can), and lime juice and whisk until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
When the crust is out of the oven, let cool then add the filling. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 15 min. Let cool. Refrigerate until set. Top with whipped cream.

*Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. This PI day, (3.14.15) comes around only every hundred years.

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