Friday, July 31, 2009

Pumpkin Pie (Easy Version)

real image not available: we ate it.


In a hurry? I know I am. Here's an easy recipe (dedicated to Leslie) for a delicious pumpkin pie that takes about 10 minutes to prepare:

Step 1: buy the dough.

Go to a grocery store. The pre-made pie crusts are usually near the packaged cookie dough section (you know where that is). As per the directions, let it sit out for about 15 minutes before you unroll it. I usually don't wait that long though.

Step 2: preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 3: place rolled dough in dish (9 inch glass pie dish).

Unroll the dough into the dish and press it against the sides. Make a pretty design with the edges (like this or this or this).

Step 4: make the filling.

ingredients:

2 large eggs
1 can (5 ounces) NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 can (30 ounce) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin MIX
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Combine pumpkin mix, evaporated milk, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs lightly in separate small bowl. Stir eggs into pumpkin mix.

Step 5: pour into pie shell.

Step 6: place in oven.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Then bake for another 50 to 60 minutes or until you can put a knife or toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Step 7: cool it down.

Place pie on a wire rack (can use a the top of a stove if you don't have one) for about 2 hours.

Step 8: serve it now or else... refrigerate.

Serve with whip cream, cool whip, vanilla ice cream, or all of the above. I like to sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top as a garnish. Makes it look purrty.

Extra Stuff:

Here's some reviews of the original recipe of Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie from a few years ago. Just like the pie, they are mixed: ranging from flattery to utter disgust. I think my pie tasted a bit better than utter disgust but probably not worth a lot of flattery either...

Blueberry Pie

pre-baked blueberry pie

My friend Jose and I made this pie for a work picnic in Central Park (which got rained out and moved to the large conference room). What is it with this New York summer and rain? Anyways, to make the pie I used my mom's recipe for the crust and Googled a recipe for the filling. I, being the rebel baker that I am, tweeked both recipes and came up with my own:

Step 1: make the dough (note: blueberry pies make 2 crusts - for the bottom and top)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup salted butter (chilled)
1/4 cup ice water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. "Cut in" butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Once blended well, sprinkle with the water gradually. Kneed with fingers for about a minute. The dough should be moist and malleable not watery or flaky. Roll into a ball, put back in the bowl, and place it in the fridge.

Step 2: make the filling.

4 cups of blueberries (about 2 large packages - remove stems and clean)
1/2 cup sugar (give or take - add more if you want)
2 tbsp flour (can also use cornstarch but I think it changes the taste a bit)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except for the flour. Mix it gentle and try not to smoosh the blueberries. Put in the fridge.

Step 3: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 4: roll out the dough.

Roller (or in my case: a wooden cylinder from Home Depot)
Wax Paper
Glass Pie Dish (9 inches)
Chilled Dough

Cover a table with a few sheets of wax paper. Flour the paper and the roller generously throughout rolling. Separate the dough in 2 equal balls. Take dough #1 and roll into a circle a little larger than 9 inches in circumference. Don't forget to be liberal with the flour!

Once it's big enough, fold the dough in the wax paper 4 times so it's like this. Then place it in the glass dish (lightly flour the dish before) and unfold gently.

Roll dough #2 out in the same way but put it aside.

Step 5: fill the pie.

Add the flour to the filling gently. Make sure it covers all the berries and add a bit more if necessary. The flour is suppose to thicken the pie, so if you want a thicker pie add more and if you want it more juicy add less - get it? Scoop the filling into the pie dish. Spread around and make a little hill in the middle.

Step 6: cover the pie.

Unfold dough #2 on top of the filling. Make sure it's even and then seal the edges with your fingers. This is where you get to be creative: I like to take my index finger and thumb and pinch the side of the crusts together in a uniform way. Then I make slits in the top of the crust (VERY IMPORTANT OR THE PIE WILL EXPLODE!) (see photo above).

Jose made a lattice by cutting dough #2 into long strips with a knife and braiding it (see photo below). To be honest, I'm not really sure how he did it but I plan an attempt to try it on the next pie I bake.

Step 7: coat the crust.

1 Egg
1 tbsp cream (optional)

Scramble one egg (and cream) in a bowl. Lightly coat the crust with the egg using a pastry brush. Start with the middle and work your way to the outside. Try to avoid any pooling of egg (you probably won't use the whole egg). The purpose: to make the crust come out golden brown after it's baked.

Step 8: bake it!

Put the pie in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown color and the juices are bubbling. If you think the edges are browning too quickly, you can cover them with a foil ring at that time to prevent burning.

Step 9: cool it.

Place the baked pie on a wire rack (I use the removable grills from my gas stove) to cool for several hours.

Step 10: let them eat PIE!

Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or (my preference) vanilla ice cream. You can store any leftovers (likely not) for 2 or 3 days at room temperature.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Introduction

Hi. I'm Lauren and I'm a baker. This blog is really the brainchild of a good friend of mine (Heidi): one day we were sitting together in the nosebleed section of Shea Stadium and found ourselves talking about baking (of all things). She confided a hidden weakness for packaged cookie dough and I told her of a recent pie I had made for a work party (Blueberry Pie featured above) which turned out to be a success. My friend knows I bake a lot and suggested I create a blog to post recipes and photos of my creations. That way I can keep track of what I bake, my recipes, and maybe even inspire others to bake too or simply enjoy the blog. So, here we are.

I'm calling this blog "Rebel Baker" for two reasons (1) Born to Bake, Badass Baker, and Sugar Plum were already taken and (2) I don't always follow the recipe rules. My hope is to post detailed recipes, photos and stories about my inspirations and the creative processes.

-Rebel Baker