Honeycrisp Dutch Apple Pie

A mournful thick rain is pelting my office classroom playroom window tonight as I sit typing with a belly that is full and happy. Full because it’s stuffed with layers of perfectly spiced apple, buttery flaky crust and crunchy crumble topping. Happy basking in the glow of warm friendship and thankfulness. My girlfriend Rachel brought me a 15 pound box of honeycrisp apples this week fresh from the orchards of Eastern Washington – because she’s amazing and knows I love to bake with them. Just a day later, my “I-want-to-be-just-like-her” friend Jen popped by with a basket full of honeycrisps, caramels and a note of encouragement. Seriously, I completely fail in the doing-nice-things-just-because portion of friendship. These gals are rock stars who I’m incredibly blessed to know. Of course, as always happens, Jen came by as we were doing school in our PJs and I still hadn’t managed a shower. It’s good to have friends who love you in spite of your flaws. [Read more…]

Blueberries and Cream Pie

Are you a crust or filling person? Pie eaters (I’ve found) fall into one of these two distinct categories. Those who tolerate the crust as a means for getting gorgeous amazing delicious filling into their mouths. And those who believe a flaky light crust absolutely is the best thing about pie. That the filling is plays second fiddle and is really only there because you can’t just eat pie crust on its own.

The fact that you need something else to go with crust is one of the reasons I am a filling girl. You can totally gobble fruity (or custardy) filling with a spoon. It needs no other accoutrement to make it delicious. My husband is all about the crust.

Personally I’ll take a  crumble or a cobbler any day over pie. More filling, less crust. Thankfully this blueberries and cream pie gives us both a little something we love. And that makes everyone happy.

On the bottom, a flaky buttery crust.

Filled with blueberries. You know what’s awesome about blueberries? No chopping, cutting seeds out, coring, or peeling. Give em’ a rinse and in they go. Perfect.

Topped with an amazing creamy custard.

The custard is just divine.

Finished with a crumb streusel.

Hello gorgeous.

Seriously delicious food here people. All those bright fresh berries swimming in sweet rich custard? Yeah. The crust is bomb too. But the filling…ooooooh the filling. It’s the perfect blend of a cream pie and a succulent fruity cobbler. Glorious summer goodness.

As a side note. When I served this up for dessert I discovered the mystery of genetics explained on my children’s plates. Madison ate her crust first and after a few bites of the filling declared she was full. Donovan devoured the fruity custard and left his crust untouched. When he proclaimed he was stuffed Madison lept at the opportunity to eat his abandoned crust. Go figure.

Print Recipe for Blueberries and Cream Pie

Blueberries and Cream Pie
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

Pie Crust (from America’s Test Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/4-inch
pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
and chilled
4-6 tablespoons ice water

1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)

3 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb Topping
2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg (about 1/16th teaspoon)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour


Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add chilled shortening and pulse until coarsely ground. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to large bowl.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons water over flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, stir mixture until dough forms. If dough remains crumbly, add remaining 1 tablespoon water. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic and aluminum foil, for up to 2 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before using.)

Let chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Working on lightly floured work surface, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp edges. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

While crust is firming up, work on the filling. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and flour. Add in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Take the pie out of the freezer and put the blueberries on the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling over the blueberries and spread it out.

Now make the crumb topping. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Pour the melted unsalted butter into the bowl and mix everything together. Add in the flour and mix until the ingredients form a crumble topping. Crumble the crumb topping over the pie.

Mix together 1 large egg and a Tablespoon of water and brush over the edge of the crust.
Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Let the pie cool before cutting into slices. Then enjoy!

Easy French Bread

My husband says I should call this Freedom Bread. But I just can’t do it. French bread is a classic. One of the foods I would want if I was ever on a deserted island (and cheese/butter please). I made this quickly and easily in my bread machine, but you can do this recipe even if you don’t own one.  Instructions for non-bread machine users are at the bottom of the post. I found a neat tip today for giving homemade bread a crispy crust. Throw a couple of ice cubes in the bottom of your oven at the start of the baking time. Then, for a crispier crust, put a couple more in there halfway thru. I did this with these loaves today and it worked like a charm! I love odd ideas that actually work. [Read more…]

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I know pumpkin pie is traditional for Thanksgiving, but every year I make this divine pumpkin cheesecake instead for our intimate family dinner. By “intimate”, I mean we only invite my mom’s immediate family, and their immediate families. Which comes to between 40 and 50 people. This year I believe the magic number is 45. We would have topped the big 5-0 if it weren’t for my sister going to her in-laws…and taking her “plus 6” with her. We watch football and enjoy each other’s company for a few hours while the dinner fixin’s get situated on many many many tables. And then we sit. It’s pretty much just like a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Except we generally eat a lot better than toast and popcorn.


Thanksgiving Table

[Read more…]

Chicken Pot Pie

A nice fall day calls for a warm, homey meal filled with comfort flavors. Chicken Pot Pie fit the bill for tonight. I started with a recipe from www.allrecipes.com and added my own twist. I doubled the sauce, used a homemade crust, added a couple things and adjusted the spices. You could easily use a pre-made crust and add whatever veggies you like.  I had a couple leftover baked potatoes which I threw into the broth at the last-minute. If using raw potatoes, add to broth and cook with veggies.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  2. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken, and cook until just not pink. Remove chicken to drain on paper towels. Add carrots, potatoes, peas, celery, garlic and onion. Add chicken broth, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper. Slowly stir in milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and add slowly to chicken mixture, stirring to incorporate.
  4. Roll out pie dough and place in deep dish pie plate. Pre-cook for 7 minutes. Pour the chicken mixture into warm bottom pie crust – scooping in chicken/veggies first and pouring broth over until pie dish is full. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Place in oven and immediately turn oven down to 35o°. Bake in the oven for 50 to 65 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Nectarine Raspberry Pie

We had a bunch of fruit leftover from my sister’s bridal shower this weekend. So, I took the nectarines home, combined them with some raspberries I had in the fridge and tried out a new recipe for pie. It was kind of a complex recipe – but the pie was really good. Very flaky crust with a lot of flavor and perfectly tart filling.  I’ll probably make some tweaks the next time I make this pie though (I always go “by-the-book” the first go round of a recipe). I would have liked more fruit in this pie, I like mine mounded up, and the filling was just a smidge runny – probably will cut back on the added juice next time. Overall though, excellent.

Nectarine Raspberry Pie

Nectarine Raspberry Pie (America’s Test Kitchen)

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
16 T butter (two sticks), diced and frozen for 10 minutes
1/3 C ice water
3 T sour cream

2 1/2 pounds nectarines (about 5 large), pitted and sliced
1 cup raspberries
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 t lemon zest
2 t lemon juice
2 T cornstarch

1 egg white

Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
Sprinkle the frozen butter over the flour, and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Combine sour cream and ice water. Pour 1/2 mixture into food processor and pulse until incorporated. Repeat with 2nd half of sour cream/water mixture.
If the dough doesn’t come together, sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water at a time until it does.
Divide the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Stir the nectarines, raspberries and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. Let sit for 1 hour or until fruit has released it’s juice.
Drain any excess juice in a large colander (reserving 1/4 C of juice) and toss the fruit with the lemon zest, juice and cornstarch. Taste a piece of the fruit. If it is tart, add an additional 1/4 cup of sugar.

Roll one disc of dough into a 12-inch circle, and carefully fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving the overhang. Cover with saran wrap and freeze, about 30 minutes. Fill the crust with the fruit mixture.
Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch circle, and carefully fit the dough over the pie plate.
Trim the excess of dough to about a 1/2 inch, press two doughs together and fold under. Crimp to form a neat edge.
For lots of great pie crust ideas – click here! As you can see, I went pretty boring with mine today. I didn’t have a whole lot of time for fancy-pants crust.

Golden Crust

Beat the egg white and brush it on top, sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes, then reduce to 375 F and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool at least two hours before serving. Cover loosely with saran wrap and store at room temperature.

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