Star-Studded Blueberry Pie

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Star-Studded Blueberry Pie

Adapted from familyfun.com

Who doesn’t love a slice of delicious, homemade pie? The coming of summer and the great variety of fruit mean pies. The first time I made this pie, I was making several desserts for a get-together of family friends. It was very easy to make. I was sure it was going to be good but it really surprised me how good it was. Every time there’s a get-together, everyone always asks me when I’m going to make this pie again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold milk
  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Place 2 cups of flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cut the butter into slices and scatter the pieces on top of the flour.
  3. Pulse the flour and butter until they are combined and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough sticks to itself when gently squeezed.
  4. Place the dough on top of a piece of wax paper on your countertop. Shape it into two balls, one twice as large as the other. Wrap the smaller piece of dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Place another piece of wax paper over the larger piece of dough and roll it out to fit a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Line a 9- or 10-inch pie pan with the rolled piecrust dough and crimp the edges. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Place the blueberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon zest, the lemon juice, the remaining 6 tablespoons of flour and sugar. Toss gently until the berries are evenly coated.
  6. Remove the pie pan with the crust from the refrigerator. Pour the filling into the crust.
  7. Roll out the extra dough and cut it into stars using a cookie cutter. Lay the stars, touching one another, on top of the filling. Press any pieces that meet the sides of the crust into the edges.
  8. Place the pie pan on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any spills). Bake in the lower third of the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly around the edges and the crust is lightly browned.

Comments: This pie is great hot, warm or even room temperature. It so easy and quick to make you can make it at any time. With the star-studded top you are sure to impress everyone; no one need know how easy the recipe is. Another thing I love about this pie is how much fruit it has; the fruit, after all, is the whole point of a pie. Happy summer eating!

Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie

Adapted from Southern Living June 2015

Friends were coming over for dinner which meant…BAKING! This is an incredibly easy recipe and there is very little hands-on time. The only thing that takes so long is the freezing part. I did not know what to expect but we all loved it. It’s refreshing and tastes kind of like lemon pie. I have also included a recipe for a Lemon-Blueberry Topping. All in all, a perfect summer dessert!

Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • Crumb Crust (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).
  2. Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with a handheld mixer in a medium bowl at high speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until the yolks become pale and ribbons form on the surface of the mixture when the beater is lifted. Gradually whisk in the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the buttermilk.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until set around the edges. The pie will be slightly jiggly.
  6. Cool the pie for 1 hour. Cover the pie with lightly greased plastic wrap and freeze for 4 to 6 hours.

Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie, crust

Crumb Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups crushed Maria cookies
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).
  2. To get the cookie crumbs, process the cookies in a food processor to get 1½ cups of finely crushed cookies.
  3. Process the crushed cookies and sugar until well combined.
  4. Add the melted butter and process until thoroughly combined.
  5. Press the mixture on the bottom, up sides and onto the lip of a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan.
  6. Bake the crust in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Lemon-Blueberry Topping

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 cup of blueberries, the sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and the berries begin to break down.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 cup of blueberries.
  4. Cool completely (about 1 hour), cover and chill until ready to use.

Comments: Though I did not try the pie with the topping, I was told it was good. Anything with blueberries is good! If you wish, you can also top your piece of pie with sweetened whipped cream. For the crust, I used Maria cookies because it’s what I’ve grown up with. However, the original recipe calls for graham crackers. One last thing, remember to take the pie out of the freezer at least 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to serve it. I had a hard time cutting the crust, so the pieces didn’t turn out too beautiful!

Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie, pedazo

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Pumpkin Pie

 

Adapted from Libby’s

We have never celebrated Thanksgiving in my family, but, having been exposed to the American culture, there’s one thing we love: pumpkin pie. Even though this is a simple recipe adapted from a can label, it is the best pumpkin pie I have ever had. All the other pies I’ve tried didn’t have the right crust or used canned pumpkin instead of the real thing or used too many spices. My mom’s pumpkin pie is one of my absolute favorite pies, no competition.

Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ – ½ cups sugar, to taste
  • 6-7 tbsp cold tap water

Directions:

  1. Add the flour, salt, butter and sugar into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Add 6 tablespoons of water to the food processor and pulse until the dough sticks together.
  3. Roll out the dough into disk on a lightly floured surface.
  4. Roll the dough up on your rolling pin and unroll it over a greased 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges.
  5. Chill while preparing the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups (15 oz.) pumpkin, cooked (look at comments)
  • 1 ½ cups evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  4. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.

Pumpkin Pie II

Assembling and Cooking the Pie

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust (recipe above)
  • Pumpkin pie filling (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (218C).
  2. Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the pie shell.
  3. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350F (177C) and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool for 2 hours.
  5. Serve chilled.

 

Comments: I can’t stress enough how good this pie is. If you are a bit skeptical about it being pumpkin, please try it before making judgments. At home we tend to like the crust slightly sweet because it gives the pie a boost of flavor. However, if you prefer, you can omit the sugar in the dough recipe. Cooking pumpkin is similar to cooking potatoes; cut the pumpkin into cubes and cook it in boiling water until easily pierced with a fork. You don’t want to overcook the pumpkin because the final step is to mash and sieve it. For the pumpkin pie filling you can also use canned pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling), but using the real thing makes a huge difference.

Pumpkin Pie piece

Tarte Tatin

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Tarte Tatin

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

This is the famous upside-down Apple tart. The mélange of flavors is spectacular: the crust, the baked apples, the caramel…I had once attempted the tarte tatin by following the recipe of another book but it didn’t come out to well; I lacked culinary experience and the utensils. However, this time it really came out well. We were all delighted and I would definitely make it again. It is a good dinner party dessert.

The Dough

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups flour
  • ¼ cup cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted buter, diced
  • 2 tbsp chilled vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup ice water

Directions:

  1. Drop the flours, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 6 times to break up the butter.
  2. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, pulsing 3 times.
  3. Remove the cover. The dough should look like a mass of smallish lumps and should just hold in a mass when you press a handful together. If it’s too dry, pulse in droplets of water.
  4. Turn the dough onto your work surface. With the heel of your hand, rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs out in front of you. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

The Tart

Ingredients:

  • 6 Golden Delicous apples
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ cup sugar, divided
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • Chilled dough (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (218C).
  2. Slice the halves of the cored and peeled apples into 4 lengthwise wedges each. Toss the apple slices with the lemon zest, lemon juice and ½ cup of sugar. Macerate for 20 minutes, then drain.
  3. Heat the butter in a heavy ovenproof 9-inch skillet over high heat. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Cook until the syrup bubbles and turns caramel-brown.
  4. Off the heat, arrange a layer of apple slices in a neat pattern on the caramel coating. Arrange the rest of the apples fairly neatly on top.
  5. Return over medium-high heat. Cook for about 25 minutes, covering the pan after 10 minutes. Press down on the apples every several minutes as you baste them with exuded juices. Remove from heat when the juices are thick and syrupy.
  6. Roll the chilled dough into a circle, 3/16 inch thick and 1 inch larger than the top of the skillet. Drape it over the apples, pressing the edge of the dough between the apples and the inside of the skillet. Cut 4 small steam holes on top.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry has browned and crisped.
  8. Unmold onto a serving dish so that the pastry is on the bottom.

 

Comments: For this recipe, the ovenproof skillet is essential. The first time I attempted at making a tarte tatin, a major problem I had was that I didn’t have the right skillet; that complicated things. I especially like this tart hot, but it is also good warm or even cold. I do not like eating desserts with whipped cream or ice cream, but it is suggested in the book. My parents tried it with vanilla ice cream and liked it.

 

Banoffi Pies

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Banoffi Pies

Adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Banoffi pies: bananas and toffee topped with cream. This recipe has always intrigued me and I’ve been meaning to make it for a while. I tried it this summer in Stratford-Upon-Avon and decided I had to make them before leaving for college. Unlike the one I had in England, these are individual pies. I must admit that banoffi pie is now officially one of my favorite pies. The combination is absolutely fantastic and, as my mom said, it is a little reminiscent of a dulce de leche pie, a classic from our home, Argentina. I sincerely hope you like these as much as I do. However, if you are absentminded, DON’T make them.

Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 4-6 tbsp ice water

Directions:

  1. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles yellow meal without any white powdery bits remaining.
  2. Turn the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of water over the mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is dry (better too wet than too dry), Form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F (218C). Roll out the chilled dough on a generously floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out six 5-inch circles. Fit the circles into a 6-cup muffin pan. Freeze the shells for 15 minutes.
  4. Line the shells with aluminum foil, making sure to cover the edges. Fill with beans or pie weights. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the dough is dry and set. Remove the aluminum and weights, reduce the oven temperature to 350F (177C) and bake the shells for about 8 more minutes until they are browned.
  5. Remove the shells from the oven and the muffin pan. Allow to cool.

Toffee

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz can condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Place the can of condensed milk in a pot and cover completely with water.
  2. Bring it to a boil and boil for three hours. Check frequently to refill the pot if the water level drops. If the water level drops too low, the can may explode.
  3. Turn off the heat. When the can is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pot and chill in the refrigerator until cold.

Banoffi Pies Close-Up

Whipped Cream Topping

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the cream and confectioners’ sugar with an electric beater in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.

Banoffi Pies mío

Assembling the Pies

Ingredients:

  • Pie shells (recipe above)
  • Toffee (recipe above)
  • ½ ripe, firm banana, cut into 12 slices (do not peel and slice until ready to assemble the pies)
  • Whipped cream topping (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Lay 2 banana slices in the bottom of each slice.
  2. Spoon 1½ tablespoons of the toffee over the bananas in each shell.
  3. Finish with a dollop of the whipped cream or pipe it over the toffee.
  4. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve within 24 hours.

 

Comments: We were all delightfully surprised by these mini pies. They are truly very delicious and I highly recommend them. I insist, you must be very careful when making the toffee. Three hours might sound like a lot but I brought down a book and my computer and was fine, but you have to keep a constant watch over it. You do get quite a lot of leftover toffee. It is delicious to eat on its own; you might decide to make more pies. I also recommend, since it is very similar to dulce de leche, to spread it over toast, on a crêpe, crumpets, scones or even over ice cream.

Wonderful, yummy, delectable gooey-ness!

Wonderful, yummy, delectable gooey-ness!

Berry Tartelettes

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Tarteletas de frutos

This is a very simple, delicious, fresh and summery dessert. I did not follow a specific recipe; I just made a sweetened pâte brisée, some crème pâtissière (custard filling) and topped it all with berries. When done, they are very cute and pretty.

 

Sweetened Pâte Brisée

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) chilled butter, diced
  • 4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup ice water

Directions:

  1. Drop the flours, salt, sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times to break up the butter.
  2. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, pulsing about 3 times. At this point, the dough should look like a mass of small lumps and it should just hold when you press a handful together. If it’s too dry, add a few more drops of water and pulse.
  3. Turn out the dough onto the counter and push blobs of dough with the heel of your hand in front of you. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
  5. Cut the chilled dough in half and keep one half wrapped and in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the other one into a circular shape about 1/8 inch thick or less. Now, you have to cut out circles for the base of the tartelettes. My tartelette kit comes with a cutter that is the right size for the mold. You can either use a tartelette pan or a muffin pan. If you use a muffin pan, you can use a round cookie cutter that will cut a round to fit the muffin mold. Place the rounds of dough into the greased molds and press the dough in place. You can make a design on the rim if you like. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
  6. Grease the shiny side of a piece of aluminum and tear smaller pieces to fit the tartelette molds. Press the lightly against the tartelette shells on the bottom and sides and pour in beans or pie weights so that the bottom doesn’t rise and the sides don’t collapse.
  7. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes in the lower-middle level of the preheated oven until the shells are set but still soft. Remove the foil and pie weights, prick the bottom again with a fork and return to the oven. Bake for about 4 minutes more, until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool and remove the shells from the molds.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the chilled dough.

 

Crème Pâtissière

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups boiling milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a wire whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is a pale yellow and forms the ribbon. (When you lift a bit of the mixture in the beater or whisk, it will fall back into the bowl forming a slowly dissolving ribbon on the surface.)
  2. Beat in the flour.
  3. Beating the yolk mixture, slowly pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.
  4. Pour into a 2 ½ quart saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir with a wire whisk. As sauce beings to boil, it will get lumpy but smoothens out as you beat it. When the boil is reached, reduce heat to medium low and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure the custard doesn’t scorch in the bottom.
  5. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter. Then beat in the vanilla.
  6. Use immediately.

 

Forming the Tartelettes

Ingredients:

  • Tartelette Shells (recipe above)
  • Crème pâtissière (recipe above)
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…)

Directions:

  1. Pour spoonfuls of the crème pâtissière into the tartelette shells.
  2. Refrigerate overnight or until the custard is set and cold.
  3. Top the tartelettes with the berries of your choice.
  4. Serve cold.

 

Comments: These are quite easy to make but do take a while. They are fresh, light and not overwhelmingly sweet. I said to use the custard immediately because if you refrigerate it before doing so, the consistency will be more gelatinous and it will become harder to spread in the tartelette shells. If you wish, you can also make this one, large berry tart. You will only need one half of the chilled dough. Roll it out into a circular shape of 1/8 inch thickness and a few inches wider than your pie or tart mold. Proceed as stated above.

*You can eat any leftover crème pâtissière by itself like pudding or with fruits.