Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie

We’re sticking with our “Nothing But Easy Summer” theme again today with Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie. On top of that  – we’re giving it a patriotic twist by topping this delicious pie with berries. This pie is SO easy and SO good! It fits right in with what we’re trying to do this summer – take it EASY! You could top this pie with berries, as I did here, or try some Chocolate Sauce! This photo is of a little girl who loves chocolate. Who knew she would grow up to love chocolate SO much?!!! This is my mom being held by her grandmother, and it looks like she’s a pretty new baby. Maybe just a couple of weeks old.

So precious – I love the way her grandmother is looking at her with that mixture of love and pride that all grandmothers have for all of their grandchildren. She was the first grandchild in this particular family. Who knows – maybe this grandmother is who she got her love of chocolate from!

Well, for this particular pie, I used berries to top it. We’re getting pretty close to 4th of July, and the more we can use those patriotic colors, the better! You can’t get much easier than berries on top!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie

Microwave until soft (15-20 seconds):

8 ounces cream cheese

Mix with electric mixer until real smooth:

Softened cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

Stir in with a spoon:

8 ounces Cool Whip

Pour into:

Keebler Shortbread Cookie Pie Crust (yes – store-bought)

Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Top with berries or chocolate sauce.

It’s reidiculous how good this pie is with basically 3 ingredients (not counting the berries).

Mixing the cream cheese and sugar together makes it easier to stir in the Cool Whip.

Mix it all thoroughly and then spread the mixture into the pie crust. Yes – it’s store-bought (gasp!), but you can go ahead and make your own graham cracker crust if you want to. I’m just keeping this as easy as possible.

Next, the pie goes into the refrigerator – the card says 3 hours or overnight, so I left it in overnight.

There is nothing easier and more delicious than sweet, seasonal berries, and they just happen to be perfect for the 4th of July. But you know what’s also easy and delicious? Chocolate Sauce. Either way is gonna be great!

This pie will be a regular in my arsenal. So easy, so good, so pretty. Who knew that keeping things easy could be so delicious?!! I’m really starting to enjoy this “Nothing But Easy Summer” thing. It’s just so good, in so many ways! It’s good because it’s easy to do. It’s good because these recipes have all been delicious. It’s good because it gets you outside enjoying the summer before it’s over and gone. It’s all good! Try Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie and get out and enjoy your summer!

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I first made this Pumpkin Pecan Pie when I was in high school. I can NOT remember where this recipe came from. Even though I thought it came from a specific cookbook of mine, the recipe isn’t in there, and I can’t find it anywhere other than written out here. The recipe was lost for years, but somehow I found it! Yay! That’s why, even though I posted on Friday about My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies, I’m posting the recipe for this pie today.

Because it’s thanksgiving on Thursday, and thanksgiving is all about family, I wanted to share a little bit of family history. On my dad’s side of the family, we can trace ancestors back to a small town in Massachusetts, coming here from England in 1638. That’s less than 20 years after the Pilgrims! I love this photo of my great, great grandparents on my dad’s side, who were alive and living in Wisconsin during the last half of the 1800’s, or about halfway back to those original ancestors. Great, great grandpa has a bit of a twinkle in his eye, but great, great grandma looks a no-nonsense kind of gal.

I’m so grateful to have this photo and all the photos of family members going back so far. I wonder what thanksgiving dinner would be like with these relatives? I would have a million questions!

So anyway, about this pie. It’s absolutely delicious, and it has always been one of my favorites. I highly recommend trying this ridiculously easy recipe. Before I start the recipe, I want to say in advance – don’t use the temperature written on the recipe. See below for new baking instructions.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Have a pie crust ready to go. You can find recipes for pie crust here on the blog by using the recipe menu.

Mix all together:

1 cup pumpkin (I used frozen pumpkin instead of pumpkin from a can)

3 eggs

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (1-14 ounce can)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Fill pie crust.

Sprinkle on top of filling:

1 cup chopped pecans (plus extra if you want to make a fancy design)

New baking instructions – Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.*

(*I had a problem with the temperature for baking. In the recipe I had written down 300 degrees for 45 minutes, but after 45 minutes, the pie was still totally liquid. I raised the temp to 400 degrees and gave it another 20 minutes. That seemed to do the trick – that was enough to solidify it. I’m wondering if I didn’t write it down wrong and it was supposed to be 400 degrees. Start there and maybe just watch it after 30 minutes or so.)

This is it – just mix it all up together in a bowl.

I had my pie crust and chopped pecans ready to go before starting the filling.

I decided to do a fancy pants line of whole pecans around the outside edge of the filling. So pretty.

The pecans got a bit dark because of the temperature issue, but I don’t know, I kinda like the pecans nice and toasted.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you’re in heaven. This pie is so amazingly delicious for such a simple recipe. I just love it. It’s sweet and pumpkin-y with the amazing flavor of all those spices. This is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Ever. Period. It’s an easy one to do last-minute because it’s just so easy to make. I think you’re going to want to make this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie for your family this thanksgiving.

 

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My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Since we’re only days away from Thanksgiving, I’m sharing My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes. Can we ever really have enough pies? I think not. Thanksgiving is about gratitude and abundance – so “make more pie”! That’s my motto! Enjoy these pie recipes – maybe you’ll pick a new one to make for your celebration!

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

 

Cranberry Pineapple Pie

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

 

Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

 

Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind

 

Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust

 

Butterscotch Pie

 

 

 

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Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie comes from friends who stayed with us years ago, and it’s become one of my family’s favorites. As a hostess gift, they brought us a cookbook to write your own recipes in, and this one was already in there. I’m so glad it was! Refrigerated pie crust (gasp) makes this fast and easy to make for a “really quick” dinner, as it says on the recipe. I know, I know –  the recipe doesn’t say refrigerated pie crust, but if we’re really trying to make this a quick one, that’s the way to go. You can certainly make your own pie crust, or even make it ahead of time and keep it ready to go in the freezer, but refrigerated crust has come a long way, and I’m ok with it – in this case.

This recipe is so fast and so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Pot Pie

Put a refrigerated crust into a pie plate (you can also make your own crust).

Mix for filling:

2 cans Cream of Potato Soup

1 can VegAll (or frozen mixed vegetables – I used fresh vegetables and some vegetables from my garden)

2 cups diced chicken or turkey (I used chicken leftover from one we made in the smoker – rotisserie chicken works great, too)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup milk

Put a refrigerated pie crust into pie pan (or make your own).

Put filling in and put on top crust.

Brush top crust with beaten egg.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

I used some fresh vegetables and some vegetables from my garden for this pie, but canned works just fine, too.

The filling is absolutely delicious.

Before baking it looks ok, but after baking you can see how pretty it is when you brush on the egg. I also made a few vent holes with a knife and added a sprinkling of course salt and freshly ground pepper on top of that.

This is another great recipe where you can basically have the ingredients on hand to make this whenever you have leftover chicken or turkey.

I’m so glad I have this recipe and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s easy to pull together, it’s easy to do, and it is sooooo good! My family absolutely loves this pot pie – it’s total comfort food. Really. I’m not even kidding – I KNOW you’re family is going to LOVE this Chicken Pot Pie.

 

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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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Blueberry Pie

I’m kind of famous for making this Blueberry Pie. Haha! I originally found the recipe in the June/July 1992 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and I’ve been making it ever since. It’s become a 4th of July and summer tradition in our family. There have been several people who, when served this pie, asked if it was ok to lick the plate when they were done. Yes – it’s that good! And yes – it’s ok! Now is the time to make this pie when blueberries are plentiful and less expensive. Some day I’d like to try to make it with wild Minnesota blueberries. That would be fun and amazing. I’ll type out the recipe here since I don’t have anything but the old magazine to go by.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Blueberry Pie

It’s easy to double both the pie crust and filling when making this so you can make two at a time. I only made one pie here.

You will need both a top and bottom crust.

You can find a recipe for pie crust in an earlier post here.

3 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for glaze

Line a pie tin with dough and chill thoroughly.

Roll out circle of dough at least 10″ in diameter and chill on a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, combine berries, 1 cup sugar, flour, and lemon zest and juice.

Fill chilled pie shell with berry mixture.

Top with pastry circle.

Trim overhanging pastry to within 3/4 inch and crimp edges together to seal.

Cut slits or holes in top crust to let steam escape.

Chill pie for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush pie with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown.

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Blueberries are so plentiful and beautiful right now.

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The lemon brightens up and adds a nice flavor to this pie.

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I should have left a bit more dough on the edge of the bottom crust, but it worked out just fine.

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For some reason I got a crease up the middle of the top crust.

Just disregard that.

Pretend you didn’t see it.

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This pie holds its shape better than you would think.

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Blueberry pie is delicious and such a great summer tradition.

Seriously.

Go ahead and lick the plate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

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Today’s recipe is another seasonal favorite – Apple Pie with Crumb Topping.

The best part of this recipe is that there’s only one pie crust to make.

I used more apples from of our friend Sven’s wonderful apple tree.

They’re pretty tart and are perfect for this recipe.

I use the Martha Stewart recipe for pate brisee (pie crust) which you can find here. I love that you can make this pie crust in the food processor. I roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap – it’s easy to move the crust around and easier to clean up.

Crumb Topping for Apple Pie

(This is a one-sided recipe. It says “over” on the card because on the back side was the recipe for graham cracker pie crust. We’ll use that another time.)

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Into an unbaked pie shell, put sliced apples (I used about 8-10 apples but these are small apples from a local tree, not store bought).

Mix together:

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle over sliced apples.

For the top crust, mix together with a fork or pastry blender:

1/3 cup shortening (I used butter)

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

Top sliced apples with top crust mixture.

It will look like it won’t all fit on there, but go ahead and put it on.

I put it on by the handful.

Bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees or until top crust is golden.

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Go ahead and pile on the sliced apples.

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So much sugar and cinnamon goodness!

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Put ALL of the top crust topping on.

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The crust will be golden brown and crusty.

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This is a very good pie recipe.

One of our kids doesn’t like pie crust.

She declared this the best apple pie she’s ever had.

We highly recommend this one!

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