Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Duke hopes you all have a bootiful evening!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pineapple Cream Pie

I promised that I'd post this recipe, this is one of the pies that I had entered into the charity bake-off. This pie was the 1999 American Pie Council 2nd place winner in the cream pie division. Hmm, maybe I should have paid more attention to that little note! LOL!!! In any event, it was really delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

The inspiration for this pie came from that cute little decoration you see on top of this pie!  Yes, I was inspired to make this pie based on a .99 cent cookie cutter stamp!  It's similar to the Williams-Somoma cookie cutter stamps, but it didn't come from there, it came from my local kitchen store in Maine.

The first time I made this pie, I made it with the graham crust, the second time I made it I made my own pie crust, and my little pineapples! I did not do an egg wash on the crust, you my like to do that if you want a golden crust.  I used milk, I wanted a light crust.  

These are the steps to make a graham cracker pie crust, you can skip and use a pre-cooked pie shell.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

PIE INGREDIENTS (I felt very Julia Child like mixing these ingredients!)
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple drained (I gave a little squeeze too)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup white sugar and melted butter.  Press mixture firmly in bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake at 375 degrees F  (190 degrees C) for 6 -8 minutes.

2. Combine 2/3 cup white sugar, corn-starch, and salt in saucepan.  Blend milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and stir in butter, vanilla, and pineapple.  Pour into crust.  Press plastic wrap over top of filling.  Chill at least 2 - 4 hours.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, confectioners' sugar and almond extract.  Whip to stiff peaks and pie or spoon onto pie.  Serve immediately!

Serves 6 - 8

P.S. Stay tuned!  The next pie I post will be my Tomato Pie!  

P.P.S.  Thank you for all your comments on my "Biggest Loser" post.  I truly appreciated your kind comments!  Thanks for letting me know what your favorite pie is too!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Favorite Apple Cake

This new recipe made 4 people very happy after dinner!  

I found this recipe on Boston.Com, it was under the "Most E-Mailed" articles. So naturally I had to read it. The article said that the cake has a remarkably moist texture from the oil and orange juice. It does!

I put my faith in the article that there would be enough batter when I layered the four Cortland apples, I was skeptical, but there was enough batter!

The cake tastes delicious, it's easy to put together, just like the article states. The article also goes on to say it keeps well, ahh, that will NOT be a problem. 


Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)

1 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil because I didn't have canola)
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used orange extract because I was out of vanilla)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 baking apples (peeled, cored & thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)

Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper (I used wax paper) cut to fit it, and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

In an electric mixer, combine the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat just until smooth again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon one-third of the batter into the pan (barely a layer). Smooth the batter with a metal palette knife. Gently press half the apples into the batter (OK to overlap). Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Add one-third more batter, the remaining apples, and all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Cover with batter, smooth the top (it may not cover the apples; that's OK), and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar.

Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is firm and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

With a small knife, cut around the inside and outside edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a plate. Set another plate on top and invert again so the cake is right-side up. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Serves 8, 10, or 12 (depends on how big you slice the pieces!)

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

P.S.  You could also add chopped walnuts or pecans to the sugar cinnamon mixture and make more of an apple coffee cake!

P.P.S. I made a few substitutes because we were at the cottage in Maine, and since we're only up on occasional weekends I have run out of items, and I wasn't going to run to the market!  My substitues were not even noticed!

P.P.P.S.  Your home will smell devine!

I linked up with the following parties!
Pink Saturday

Monday, October 8, 2012

And the Biggest Loser Is . . .

Me!  Yes, that's right, moi!  If you recall, I mentioned that I was thinking about entering a pie contest, well I did, and I lost!  Lost! Lost!  But that's OK (HA!), because I learned A LOT!!!  Being a teacher, there always has to be a lesson - right!

This contest was for charity.  You paid $5.00 for each set of pies, and you needed to bring 2 of each pie you entered.  One for the judges to sample, and one to sell.  So, I went out on a limb, and entered a pineapple cream pie, tomato pie, and my world famous blueberry pie.

Pineapple Cream Pie
However, when I got there, they didn't have my tomato pie on the list!!!  So it was disqualified before it was set down on the table.  They apologized, and I took a deep breath, and said "no problem."  In all fairness, it was the 1st time this shop had ever held a competition.  Out of the goodness of my heart, I left one tomato pie for them to sell, then we took the other one home and had a slice for breakfast!  LOL!!!

The grand prize was a $75.00 King Arthur gift certificate, and Emile Henry blue pie plate, and a blue ribbon.  Second prize was a $50.00 King Arthur gift certificate, a red ribbon, Emile Henry red pie plate.  Third prize was a $25.00 King Arthur gift certificate, a white ribbon, Emile Henry white pie plate.

Wild Maine Blueberry Pie
Later on in the day, we went back to find out the results.  What I found out was, that I didn't win a thing!  Well, that's not entirely true, I did win a consolation prize, a pie carrier!  I was told that my tomato pie was the best pie there!!!  LOL!!!

So, here's what I learned.  These ladies, and gentlemen who entered this contest were serious bakers!  Some of them enter contests throughout New England.  One woman drove up from New York, another from Cape Cod!  Some of them have all kinds of blue ribbons racked up!!!  Some of them are genuine bakers!  So, I wasn't up against the local kitchen cook, oh no, these were real competitive bakers!

Tomato Pie
I also learned that if I want to bake in the kitchen with the big kids, I need a training program - stat, so watch out, I'm competitive,  I don't like to loose, so bring on the contest next year because I'm in training!!!  I'm baking a pie a week!!!

Now, there's another chapter to this story, and it's a "hum-dinger" . . .  my darling husband was very excited about this competition for some reason, he told me I had to have my pies there on Saturday, and I said it was Sunday, this discussion went on for about 15 minutes - until we checked the website, which wasn't clear.

So, instead a leisurely Saturday baking, I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. baking, after working all day, and driving 2 hrs. to Maine!  So, I had been up a total of 23 hours.  I gained conscience briefly on Saturday morning to verify when the pies had to be there - yup, I was right, it was Sunday!  The only thing I did on Sunday was relax after dropping off my pies!  It's a good thing he's cute and I love him . . .

All, in all, I'm really happy that I entered.  It was for a good cause, I had fun, I loved the excitement surrounding the contest and I'm looking forward to making more pies!  

I'll post the recipes later.  To satisfy my own curiosity, please let me know which pies you are particularly interested in when you leave your comment.  Also, please let me know what your all time favorite pie is.  Thank you!

I linked up with the following parties;
Mosaic Monday