Archive for the ‘Pies’ Category
For every person who would pick apple pie as their favorite, there is another person who would pick cherry as their top choice. They’re probably the two most popular pie flavors out there. I have seen many variations on apple pie over the years, but I find that I see cherry pie variations much less often. A classic cherry pie is a double crust pie, sometimes with a lattice crust over the top. If apple pie can get a variety of flavors and toppings to mix it up, so can cherry pie, and that is what inspired the creation of this Cherry Crumble Pie.
This pie has a filling made with sweet cherries and brown sugar, and is topped with a buttery brown sugar crumble topping. The brown sugar adds a certain richness to the cherries and brings out some of their darker berry notes. In the crumble, it also makes for a lovely deep brown color after the pie has baked. I added a splash of vanilla and a splash of amaretto to the filling, as well. The filling for the pie is thickened with cornstarch and there is just enough in with the juicy cherries to ensure that the filling holds together and slices cleanly when the pie is ready to be served.
I used a homemade pie crust for this recipe, but you could easily use a premade (frozen) crust if you prefer not to make your own crust. The filling and the topping pack in a lot of flavor so, while a buttery homemade crust is definitely a nice finish, you can get away with using a shortcut here and still get a lot of flavor in your pie. You can also opt for either fresh cherries or frozen cherries for this filling. I like fresh, sweet cherries for a pie like this one, though tart cherries can make the filling really pop. If you use frozen cherries, don’t defrost them before adding them to the filling, just toss them with the rest of the filling ingredients and add them to your crust.
This Crustless Raspberry Custard Pie is not your typical custard pie. It is baked directly in a pie plate without a pastry or graham cracker crust beneath it, yet it still holds together well enough that you can easily slice and serve it, just as you would with a regular pie. The pie is creamy and tender, with more substance than you might expect a custard pie to have thanks, in part, to a generous amount of yogurt in the filling. It also has a nice vanilla-almond flavor and is a wonderful base in which to showcase fresh raspberries.
The secret to this pie is that it is a type of “impossible” pie. This type of pie has a very small amount of flour incorporated into the filling that forms a kind of “crust” beneath the pie as it bakes. This isn’t a crisp crust, but it is a slightly firm layer at the base that helps the pie hold together well. The resulting pie is less delicate than a more traditional custard pie, but it is also lighter (meaning lower in calories) than its traditional counterpart. It is also very easy to mix up and bake, even on very short notice.
Fresh raspberries, or another fresh berry, are the best choice for this dessert. The berries look beautiful in the pie and have a beautifully bright flavor against the custard. The pie can be served slightly warm, while it is fresh from the oven, or refrigerated and served chilled. I usually top mine with a little dusting of powered sugar, but a small dollop of whipped cream and a few extra raspberries can also make a perfect finish.
Chiffon pies are light, airy pies that have fillings with a mousse-like consistency. They are, in fact, made much like a mousse and get most of their volume from beaten egg whites or whipped cream. They also usually have a small amount of gelatin in them that helps them keep their shape and slice easily. A chiffon pie can be a great option for a dessert that packs a lot of flavor, without feeling heavy, and this Chocolate Chiffon Pie is great example of exactly that.
The pie starts with a chocolate crumb crust and is filled with a mousselike chocolate chiffon filling. Some chiffon pies use egg whites to give them their lift, but this one uses whipped cream both for volume and for mouthfeel. The pie has a wonderful chocolate flavor to it, thanks to a generous amount of chocolate in the filling. Both dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate will work in the filling – even chocolate chips, so long as they’re good quality. It is best to choose a chocolate that you really enjoy because that will be the main flavoring of this pie. I used Guittard Bittersweet (61% cacao) chocolate in the pie pictured. Opt for a darker chocolate if you prefer a more bittersweet flavor in your pie, and semisweet if you prefer your pie to be a touch lighter.
I like a chocolate crumb crust for this pie, as the chocolate flavor goes well with the pie and it adds a nice crunchy element to the dessert. A regular graham cracker crust will also work well, and you can use a traditional pastry crust that has been prebaked and cooled, if you prefer. The pie keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for several days after assembly. It is best when served with a little bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings for garnish.
As a fan of coconut, I like it in most types of desserts and baked goods. This includes cakes, cookies, muffins and pies. Coconut cream pie is probably the most common type of coconut pie you’ll find. It is made with a pudding-like filling that is packed with shredded coconut and poured into a prebaked pie shell, very similar to a chocolate cream pie. Coconut Custard Pie is a little different than a cream pie and just might be a better way to enjoy coconut.
Coconut Custard Pie has an eggy custard base that is not pre-cooked, but baked right in the pie shell. Rather than having a pudding-like texture, it has a more delicate texture to it, like that of a creme brulee or other baked custard. Of course, this particular pie is also packed with coconut, so some of that delicate texture usually associated with baked custards is lost with the generous amount of shredded coconut that is also in the filling because that adds a lot of texture to the pie.
I use sweetened shredded coconut, but you can also use unsweetened without making any changes to the recipe. Some coconut pie recipes call for using only toasted coconut. You can use only toasted coconut in this recipe if you prefer that toasty flavor. I prefer to use untoasted coconut because I like the contrast it creates as the pie bakes: the top becomes crispy and toasted, while the coconut inside the filling remains slightly chewier. Either way, you end up with a pie that has terrific coconut flavor, a creamy and eggy base and a buttery, flaky pie crust.
You can’t go wrong with apple pie for any occasion and this is especially true when it comes to miniature pies. Mini pies give you the option of having a whole pie (that you can actually eat in one sitting!) all to yourself, and a stockpile of other little pies that you can either share or pop into the freezer for later.
These Individual Cranberry Apple Pies are apple pies with a sweet-tart cranberry twist to them. The apple pie filling is basically the same one that I use when making regular mini apple pies, but when I put the filling into the pies, I also add a generous scoop of whole berry cranberry sauce. I find that the cranberry sauce not only has a wonderfully bright flavor that works well with the lightly spiced apples, but that the consistency of the sauce is a lot like pie filling to begin with and so it incorporates into the pies very well. I tend not to use apples that are too tart when making this combination (skipping granny smiths in favor of something milder) because I don’t want the filling for my pies to be too tart and I want there to be a clear difference between the apple and the cranberries.
I always use homemade cranberry sauce when making this recipe, but there are good store bought brands out there that will also work perfectly well in this recipe (and save some time over making your own sauce). Just be sure to choose a whole-berry sauce and not a cranberry jelly, which will not really incorporate well into the pie filling. Choosing a cranberry sauce that has other elements in it – such as orange zest, cinnamon or other spices – will just make the pie that much more interesting.
These pies can be baked in miniature pie pans, individual muffin pans or prepared in a countertop pie maker, such as my mini pie maker from Breville (which I used to make the pies pictured here). They can be served hot or at room temperature. Leftover pies can be cooled, frozen and reheated in the oven or in a pie maker to crisp them up for later snacking. However you serve your pies, don’t forget to top them off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is the perfect finish to this pie filling.