Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Peach Pie with Never Fail Pie Crust

It’s that time of the summer when peaches are plentiful and oh so delicious! The grandmas and grandpas would tell of why they loved peach season as children (we all know about their keeping the nice, soft papers that wrapped the peaches hung on a nail on the wall in that little house in the backyard)! My mom would buy a “crate” of peaches every August and me and my sister would eat peaches until we just couldn’t eat any more!! We would eat them, but we would also make as many luscious desserts as we could before we ran out of them. This Peach Pie with Never Fail Pie Crust is another great recipe for one of my favorite fruits. This particular recipe calls for a double crust, so obviously it’s asking for a regular pie crust and not a graham cracker crust. So with today’s recipe, you get a bonus one for pie crust.

Peach Pie

Never Fail Pie Crust

Never Fail Pie Crust 2

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Peach Pie

Sift together:

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together with:

8 peaches, sliced

Put into bottom crust and top with a top crust.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Never Fail Pie Crust

1 cup rounded flour

8 Tablespoons butter (she has either margarine or shortening, but I used all butter)

1/4 cup cold milk

1/4 teaspoons salt

Blend flour, salt, and butter.

Stir in milk.

The correct procedure here is to chill the dough, then roll it out, then chill it again, blah, blah, blah. You can chill it if you want to, but I didn’t chill it at all (the recipe card didn’t say to do that). This really is “never fail”.

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Wow – I love peaches.

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I sliced the peaches first before doing the crust or mixing it together.

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This is a very simple recipe for pie crust. It’s best to have it ready to go before getting the peaches ready.

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These peaches were VERY juicy and it made for a VERY JUICY pie. I might add an extra tablespoon of flour or even a tablespoon of cornstarch next time if I know the peaches are as juicy as these were.

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I used my favorite plastic wrap technique for rolling out the crust, which really worked well on this crust that is a bit softer than usual (I didn’t chill the dough this time)!

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One pie – ready for the oven! I cut some slits into the crust to let the steam out and sprinkled the top with a bit of sugar.

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Looks good right out of the oven!

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Beautiful, but juicy! I wonder if this would have firmed up a bit by putting it in the refrigerator? Next time I’ll try that.

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You just shouldn’t eat pie without ice cream! I have posted a great recipe for Homemade Ice Cream in an earlier post. Make some ice cream and make some pie, and make it with those beautiful, plentiful, delicious peaches!

 

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Cherry Pie with Pie Pastry

Today I’m doing a Cherry Pie with Pie Pastry, Pie Pastry being Grandma’s recipe here. It’s part Valentine gift to my husband (cherry pie being his favorite) and part in honor of President’s Day. Thank goodness George Washington and his chopping down of the cherry tree (even though I think they’ve proven that story untrue) gives us a reason to have cherry pie. Cherry pie, when you use the filling from a can, is one of the easiest pies to start out with if you’re just learning how to make pie. I’m 2 years old in this photo and I’m sure I was upset because I wanted to make a pie and they wouldn’t let me. No lie.

Cherry Pie and Pie Pastry

I was in the kitchen, after all.

I started making cherry pie when I was about 10 years old and probably haven’t made it since I was about 12. Even though cherry pie is my husband’s favorite, I haven’t made it over the years –  I mean really, you just open a can. Ha. I moved on to bigger and better things – like Blueberry Pie.

Crust

This Pie Pastry was interesting when baked, as you’ll see later.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cherry Pie with Pie Pastry

For pastry:

Sift together (I use a wire whisk to do this):

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Use a pastry blender to blend in:

2/3 cups lard (yes – I did use lard for this one)

Add (by mixing with a fork):

4 Tablespoons cold water (I ended up using 6 – maybe because of how dry it is in our house this time of year)

Mix until dough comes together (I used my hands at the end to make sure all it all stayed together in a ball).

Makes enough for a double crust pie.

Roll out bottom crust and put into pie plate (I still roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap-no sticking).

Fill with your favorite pie filling.

Roll out top crust and put on top of pie (here I cut strips for a lattice top).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

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Yes – I’ve come around to using lard – it really does make it sooooo flaky. Make the pieces about pea sized once you cut it into the dry ingredients.

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Split the dough in two and start with the bottom crust first. Use a sharp knife against the edge of the pie plate to cut off the excess.

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Put in your can of cherry (or any other kind you want to use) pie filling.

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I use my 30-year-old pizza cutter to cut the strips for the lattice top. Just weave them in and out or just lay them on top of each other in a woven-type pattern. Then I used an egg wash and some sanding sugar on the top to add a little sparkle.

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Here’s the interesting thing about the pastry after it was baked. It puffed up! You can see how much thicker it looks after baking. It’s not really thicker – it’s puffed and flaky. That’s what happens when you use baking powder in the dough.

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This pie pastry is a good contrast to the sweet filling. It’s light and flaky, and really holds up well to the pie filling.

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Happy President’s Day, everyone! I cannot tell a lie – this pie is delicious!

 

 

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Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust

Today I’m making one of the pies that will be part of our Thanksgiving celebration. I’m trying to get ahead of the game and get as many things done ahead of time as I possibly can. This Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust is one thing I want to get done and put in the freezer, ready for the big day. I only call it old-fashioned pie crust because it calls for, yes, LARD, and I also decided not to use the food processor. I’m actually going to mix it by hand. Usually I’m against lard, or shortening, or margarine – I usually just use butter. I had lard left over from making Hilda’s Donuts (I also still have apples left from our friend, Sven) and I thought – let’s give it a try. I haven’t had pie crust made with lard in about 40 years. I’m not sure why, but at some point we were told that margarine and shortening were better for us than lard or butter. Wrong. How could chemicals possibly be better than something that’s natural. That’s just my opinion.

I have a funny story about apple pie . . . the first time I made it by myself was when I was in 3rd grade. My mom was a working mom so I was home after school by myself and I decided to try to make an apple pie. I’m sure I had seen my mom and both of my grandmas make crust and cut apples for pie. It all went well until it came time to take it out of the oven. I dropped it! Upside down on the CARPET that we had in the kitchen (it was the 70s, remember). Good grief – I probably could hardy lift it – 3rd grade!!!! What is that, 8 years old?!! This photo was taken on my 8th birthday, so I suppose it would have been the next fall that I gave this a try.

Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust

I called my mom at work and actually thought I could still save it. Nope. It was a goner. I remember standing there just looking at it, and I couldn’t even clean it up right away – it was HOT!!!! Oh well, it wouldn’t be the last of my culinary disasters. Ha!

This recipe looks like it originally came from my mom. Must be a good one, note the “Good” connotation!

Pie Crust

I had apples that seemed a bit dry, so I didn’t use the tapioca she has on the bottom left corner of the card. These apples also seemed “plenty sweet” so I only used 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon (and I added just a dash of nutmeg and 3 small pats of butter).

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust

Mix together:

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

Add:

2/3 cup lard

Use pastry blender to cut (mix) until lard pieces are about the size of peas.

Add:

3-6 Tablespoons cold water (I used 6 T)

Mix with a fork until dough sticks together when you squeeze a handful.

Form into disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator while fixing apples.

Peel, core, and slice enough apples to fit into your pie plate. Go ahead and really fill it up – they will shrink a bit when baked.

Take pie crust out of refrigerator, split into two pieces, and roll out the first piece (crust) between sheets of plastic wrap (this is still my favorite way to do it and I wont give that up, even though I did the mixing by hand this time – it’s fast and no sticking to your counter top).

Put the first crust into pie plate.

Fill with apple slices and add the cinnamon/sugar mixture (I added a dash of nutmeg, too, and 3 small pats of butter).

Roll out the second crust – big enough to cover all.

Put top crust on top of apples and crimp edge of crust.

Cut decorative vent holes in the top crust and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. (Some people like to use an egg wash on the top crust, but since neither of my grandmas nor my mom did that, I’m not going to do it here.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turn down to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes more.

Cool on a rack. Cool completely if going into freezer.

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You can see the pea-sized bits of lard here.

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It’s hard to see, but there is a squeezed portion in the middle of the bowl.

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Wrap up the dough and chill.

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I usually put two overlapping horizontal layers of plastic wrap on the counter, then put the dough, and then two more overlapping horizontal layers of plastic wrap before I roll it out. My plastic wrap isn’t wide enough to be able to roll out a big enough crust by itself, so I use two and then it’s wide enough without coming out of the sides of the plastic wrap.

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Put in the bottom crust . . .

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then fill with sliced apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and an additional dash of nutmeg and butter pats.

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I take off the top layer of plastic wrap, flip it upside down on top of the filling, and use quick little tugs to remove the rest of the plastic wrap.

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She’s ready for the oven. Isn’t she beautiful? Ready for the freezer. I wrap it well and thaw overnight before putting the pie back into the oven at 350 degrees for another 30-40 minutes or so to re-crisp it and warm it up.

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I can’t wait until we can try this pie crust. I’ll post on Facebook how it goes. Try it yourself – just don’t drop it!

 

 

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Graham Cracker Pie

The recipe for today is one that looked good on the surface, but when I got into it, it was a challenge. I made this Graham Cracker Pie for our family dinner on Sunday and everyone agreed – this one is a keeper – it just needs a little tweaking. Some of the necessary instructions were missing, so I had to guess (and look some things up online) how to do some things. That’s just the way Grandma cooked and baked – she knew how to do it, but we don’t always remember how she did it or didn’t even see her do it. My mom did things that way, too, and me and my sister have to figure out what she means. Some recipes are just written down with ingredients and no instructions. I’m guilty of that, too. My daughters get mad that I don’t have certain recipes written down right or that I don’t use exact measurements. “You just put some in . . . ” After running my own home for more than 30 years, there are just things you get good at. They will be good at it, too – they already are! That’s one reason why I’m doing this blog – so all of those family recipes ARE written down with instructions and they have a resource to go to. So, here we go . . .

Graham Cracker Pie

One great thing about this recipe is the amazing crust!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Graham Cracker Pie

Read through recipe before starting. There were things I had to add to the instructions for the custard.

Mix for crust:

16 graham crackers, crushed fine (8 of the large double ones)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Reserve 1/2 cup for top of pie.

The card doesn’t say to bake, but I did bake it for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

(Some recipes online said not to bake the crust. I think you can do whatever you prefer.)

Filling:

2 cups milk

3 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Scald milk (heated just to boiling, but not boiling).

Beat egg yolks and add 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and flavoring.

Mix well and slowly add the scalded milk.

(Here’s where things get a bit dicey. It says that it takes about 20 minutes to thicken, but it doesn’t say whether to stop there and chill it or add it back to the pan and cook it to thicken. When I looked online, I couldn’t find any recipes for this exact custard, so I started by putting it into the refrigerator for 20 minutes and the only part that thickened was the 1/8″ on the bottom of the bowl. Next I put it into a saucepan and brought it to a boil and boiled for 2 minutes. That thickened it some. So that’s what I went with.)

Add all custard ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes.

Beat egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar and carefully spread meringue over custard.

Sprinkle reserved graham cracker crumbs over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cool on rack for 1 hour and then chill in refrigerator for 3 hours.

(I found this info online, also, and it made all the difference.)

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Adding the cinnamon gives the crust an amazing aroma. I don’t use the word “amazing” too often. It’s amazing.

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The meringue is tricky to spread on top of the custard, but just be gentle. Don’t forget to top with the crumbs!

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After baking, the meringue is puffed and golden. It does deflate after sitting and refrigerating.

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If left to chill the recommended time, I think this would be fine, but we couldn’t wait the whole time. We tried a bit too early.

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You can see that we should have left it in the refrigerator a bit longer and that the meringue deflated in there. This pie is delicious. The addition of the cinnamon in the crust and the vanilla and lemon in the custard make this so tasty. I did have to figure it out, but it’s definitely a keeper. Definitely.

 

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