Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie & a Pie Bird

Cooling on the rack!

I've had a bee in my bonnet since last September, when I entered a pie contest and didn't win anything!  Some of you may remember that post And the Biggest Looser Is.  Then, my sweet friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window told me about a recipe she found in Yankee Magazine, and she gave me the magazine with the recipe!

Thus my quest for the perfect pies began. So, about a month ago I made this wild Maine blueberry pie for the first time - when I tell you it's "lick your plate amazing" I'm telling you the truth! I served it to my Maine friends and all they could say was "ohhhhh" &"ahhhhh" & "mmmmm" ~ that's a Five Star review if you ask me!!!

Then for Valentine's Day, my wonderful husband gave me a pie cookbook, How to Build a Better Pie and I'm looking forward to making a few pies from that book! Wait until you see what I've got planned next!

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this pie from Yankee Magazine! The recipe is from Mary Blenk. Mary didn't win her first contest either, but she kept trying. She's 56 years old now, with 92 ribbons and many trophies to show for her culinary efforts. I'd call her an expert!  I'm serving Mary's pie for dessert tonight! It's cooling on the rack right now!

Ready for the oven!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 1.25 hours

Yield: 1 double-crust pie

  • dough for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie: 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface and crust bottom 
  • 1/4 cup cake flour 
  • 1 teaspoon table salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/3 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening 
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon regular(unflavored) vegetable shortening 
  • 5-7 tablespoons ice water, divided 
  • Granulated sugar (for crust bottom) 

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flours with salt and baking powder. Add butter-flavored shortening; use a pastry blender to work it in until the mixture has the consistency of fine meal. Add regular shortening, and blend until mixture looks like wet sand with pea-sized bits of shortening (Mary says this will make the crust flakier).

Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Toss with a fork until dough starts to form a ball. Turn dough onto floured counter, and knead three times, until smooth. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other.

On a floured surface, roll out larger ball to a 13-inch circle and transfer into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Dust bottom of crust with a bit of sugar and flour. Trim any excess dough that is draping over the edges of the pie plate, and set aside.

  • 1/2-1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon Minute Tapioca mix 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 4 cups Maine wild blueberries (preferably frozen) 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter 
In a separate mixing bowl, prepare the filling. Whisk together sugars, flour, tapioca, and spices. Toss berries in dry mixture. Pour berries gradually into crust, holding back flour mixture with a big spoon. When the coated berries fill the bottom, pour the rest of the dry mixture on top of berries. Drizzle lemon juice over berries; dot with butter.

Roll out top crust to a 10-inch circle and set atop pie. Fold bottom crust up over top crust; crimp to seal. Cut slits in the top. Use leftover dough to make berries and leaves to decorate the top. Bake 40-45 minutes for fresh berries, 5-10 minutes longer if you're using frozen, until juices bubble up out of the vents.

Now, if you're short on time and can't or don't want to make the crust - don't!  Just buy refrigerated pie crust and skip down to the "Filling" instructions to make your delicious pie!

Pie Birds
Pie birds were used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust by allowing steam to escape from inside the pie. I've read they originated in Europe, and I've also read that they were invented by the Shakers.  Whoever invented them, all I can say is "they work."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Epic Snowstorm & Fabulous Meatloaf

Well, if you haven't heard, we have had a snowstorm of epic proportions!  The East Coast from New York to Maine has come to a grinding standstill!  My husband and I decided to go to our weekend home Thursday evening - work was canceled on Friday.

A view of our neighbors front porch

I'm now worried that maybe we should have stayed in Massachusetts!   It has been snowing for over 24 hrs. in Maine ~ thankfully the end is in sight, but the blowing is awful.

Our neighbors can't get out of their homes, the snow is packed up against their storm doors, and they can't open them - some irony there!  Some have gone out windows . . . 

Across the street, see the mailbox . . . 

So to deal with the stress of 4 foot high snow I cooked up a fabulous meatloaf!  It has become our favorite!

I found this recipe on Stonewall Kitchen's website this past autumn and have made it several times.  I substituted their relish for red relish from the market.  It was a lot more cost effective.

3/4 pound ground beef (I like lean)
3/4 pound ground pork
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup red relish (I used Howards red relish.  Cains makes one too!)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used 1/2 panko 1/2 basic crumbs)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Stonewall Kitchen Country Ketchup
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine the beef, pork, onion, red relish, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, egg and salt. Mix thoroughly and place in prepared loaf pan.
  3. Combine the Ketchup and brown sugar. Spread this mixture over the meat loaf.
  4. Bake 1-1 1/4 hours until the meat loaf is firm and has an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Remove meat loaf from the oven and drain off fat and let “set” 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

This is what Duke thinks of all this snow!