Blueberry Pie

>> Saturday, June 27, 2009

We're headed to a friend's farm for a picnic tomorrow afternoon, and I'm supposed to take "something to share". I really hate it when someone says "bring something to share"! Just tell me *what* to bring and I'll be happy to make it, but sometimes the process of deciding what to make is harder than the making itself. Anyway ... one of the things I decided to "share" is blueberry pie (the photo is of the pie *before* baking - that way I was sure to get a picture!).

I like to can blueberry pie filling. It makes pie making a breeze and it's a no-brainer when someone asks me to bring a dessert or pie. All I really have to make then is the pie crust. Once that is done, just open the jar and pour in the filling.


2 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening or lard (I like to use Crisco's butter-flavored shortening)
Scant 1/2 cup water

In a mixing bowl, cut shortening into flour till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle water over the flour mixture ... gently toss with a fork. Add more water (sparingly) until the dough holds together. On a lightly floured surface, flatten *half* of the dough ball and then roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12" in diameter. Gently fold in half and lay into a 9" pie plate. Open and ease pastry into plate. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Roll out the other dough ball on the floured surface and lay on top after placing desired pie filling in shell. Trim top crust 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold extra pastry under bottom crust and flute edge.

Cover edges with pie crust shield and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove shield and bake 20-25 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack or serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


4 cups fresh, washed blueberries
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large pot. Dump in freshly washed blueberries. Begin cooking over low heat, stirring well to coat blueberries with sugar/starch mixture. As blueberries begin to "juice", keep stirring. Cook long enough to thicken the mixture. Remove from heat and dump into a quart jar.

Process sufficient quarts of pie filling to fill your canner. Pressure can at 10 lbs for 10 minutes or process in a water bath for 30 minutes.

When ready to fill a pie, pop open the top and stir the mixture inside the quart jar. Dump into pie shell.


Hamburger Pie

>> Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This is one of my husband's favorite meals. Also known as Shepherd's Pie, it's an inexpensive yet filling dish. I tend to make it more in the fall or winter, but when I asked him what he wanted to eat for Father's Day, this was my dh's first choice!

OVEN: 350 degrees

2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 - 16 oz cans frenched or cut green beans, drained
2 - 10 3/4 oz cans condensed tomato soup
6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in beans and soup. If the mixture is dry, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup water (I rarely need to add any water). Turn mixture into 13 x 9" baking dish.

In a covered pan cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain. Mash while hot; stir in eggs. Add enough milk to make potatoes fluffy, yet stiff enough to hold their shape. Drop potatoes in mounds atop meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

(Disclaimer ... the photo above is a stock photo. My crew ate ours up before I got a photo).


Cherry Pie

>> Sunday, June 21, 2009

It won't be long before cherries are in season, so I decided to finish up the few bags of frozen fruit I have in my freezer. I'm not sure I'd mess around with cherries if I had to pick them, but the local farm market will have wonderful sours before too long. They're messy to pit, but taste wonderful in a pie or crisp in the dead of winter. My family got into this one before I had a chance to shoot a photo. It obviously tasted good!

OVEN: 375 degrees

4 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour/tart red cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon butter
3 or 4 drops almond extract

9" pie plate lined with pastry

Drain cherries; reserve 1 cup liquid. In a sauce pan, combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in reserved cherry liquid. Whisk together to eliminate lumps. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Stir in remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the cherries, butter and almond extract. Let stand while preparing pastry. Fill 9-inch pie plate with cherry mixture. Adjust a lattice crust over top and flute edge. Cover edge of pie and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover, bake for 25-30 minutes more or till crust is golden. Cool on wire rack before serving ... or serve warm with ice cream.


Chocolate Banana Cake

>> Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is one of my daughter's latest creations. We had some "old" bananas that needed to be used up, so in addition to making some delicious bread, she whipped up this wonderful cake. Incredibly moist, we made short work of it. It tastes good without the frosting, but if there's any way to make chocolate cake taste better, the topping on this one does it!

OVEN: 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large banana, mashed
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons, cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat together the first 6 ingredients, until blended. Stir in the bananas. Combine and add the remaining ingredients and stir until mixture is blended. Be careful not to overmix.

Spread batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for a time in the pan. Remove from pan to rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon cream (or milk)

Stir together all the ingredients until blended. Butter and chocolate can be melted together in a microwave oven. Cook for 1 minute on High. Stir and cook for 30 seconds longer. Stir until blended.


Strawberry Shortcake

>> Monday, June 15, 2009

It must almost be summer because strawberries are in at the market! For the next few weeks we'll enjoy strawberry shortcake more than a few times. I suppose we're shortcake snobs ... because it has to be topped with "real" whipped cream (nothing from a tub or a can). This shortcake recipe originated with a friend and has become a family favorite.

OVEN: 450 degrees

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
dash ground nutmeg

Combine the above ingredients and cut in 1/2 cup butter. Add one egg and 1/3 cup milk. Mix well with fork.

Turn out dough onto floured board. Knead gently. Pat evenly into greased 8" round cake pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Let stand in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack to finish cooling.

Split cake and fill with sweetened strawberries. Top with fresh whipped cream.



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