Monday, May 30, 2016

The Pies of Summer: Raspberry Pie

In the Reading class I am teaching for our May Experience term, I challenged the students to read a book in a genre they do not usually read. For me, I was left choosing between Amish romance and... sports! In the end, I read both, but I went Amish romance first. The book is The Forgotten Recipe and is all about an Amish woman baking raspberry pies and healing from the death of her intended.

Most novels that gush about a recipe include one in the back, so I was shocked that this one didn't! Not even on the author's website. I had to take matters into my own hands. I happened to have two Amish cookbooks at home. I found a workable recipe for raspberry pie in Me, Myself, and Pie: Amish Recipes by Sherry Gore. I had previously made a pie crust recipe from this cookbook that I didn't care for, so I used the all-butter crust from Smitten Kitchen for the crust.

Red Raspberry Pie

For the Crust
Two 9-inch unbaked pastry pie crusts

3 cups raspberries
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cook raspberries with water, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat until thick, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, butter, and salt. Remove from heat. Let mixture cool in the refrigerator 30 minutes. Pour cooled mixture into unbaked pie crust. Cover with top crust and seal. Score top crust to vent. Bake for 10 minutes at 400. Reduce heat to 350 F and continue baking for 30 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. 

Recipe thoughts from JennyBakes:
  1. I thought I didn't like pie crust; it turns out I didn't like half shortening pie crust. I'm not sure I'll ever go back. 
  2. While 3 cups was okay, 4-5 cups would have been better. Fresh raspberries contain a lot of air and once they break down in cooking, they did not really fill the crust. If you were starting from frozen berries, 3 cups might be more accurate.
  3. Smart bakers would roll out the pie dough while the filling is cooling.
  4. I made this pie with a lattice top because it felt more like a picnic pie that way.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Pies of Summer: North Carolina Beach Pie

There is an elaborate legend about this pie, recently featured on NPR. When I came across the story I knew I had to try it. The only thing is, I've been to the North Carolina shore and asked others who I know spend weeks there every summer, and nobody has ever seen this pie or heard this story. I'm tempted to call shenanigans.

Also, this pie was a bit cursed for me. The first time I separated the eggs and the added the egg whites to the mixture instead of the citrus juice. The next time I tried the crust was so loose I almost dumped the pie all over the floor and oven when I took it out, so that explains why this one looks so messy. In the end, this is rather like a key lime pie (made milder by mixing lemon and lime juice) with a saltine crust. The salty-tart-sweet is nice but it's not a pretty looking pie. The recipe below specifies not to turn the saltines into sand but the picture of the original recipe shows it that granulated. I'm not sure which I believe because crushing the crackers by hand makes the final result a bit messy.

Have you heard of Atlantic Beach Pie or North Carolina Beach Pie?

Recipe: Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie

Makes one pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8 inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn't need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Low Carb English Muffins

When I first saw this recipe in Pinterest, I was pretty skeptical. But I went ahead and tried it one weekday morning and was pleasantly surprised! I made the recipe as is, but next time plan to double it yet cook it in three ramekins for slightly less time.... as is, it is quite deep, almost too high to toast if simply split in half.

However for those of us with few bread options in our lower carb eating, this is a great recipe to have on hand. I ate mine with peanut butter and sugar free jam but this would hold up to an egg sandwich nicely. That's what I plan to do with it this weekend!

Low Carb English Muffins
(as seen on!) 

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Spray the ramekin you are using with olive oil cooking spray or coconut oil spray.
  2. Add the almond butter and butter to the dish.
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds and mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl whisk the almond flour, salt and baking powder together.
  5. Pour the milk and egg to dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Pour this mixture into the ramekin with the almond butter mixture and stir to combine well.
  7. Microwave 2 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool a few minutes before taking it out of the ramekin and slicing in half to toast.
  9. Toast until desired.
  10. Enjoy!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tiger Nut Flour Brownies (grain-free, paleo, gluten-free)

I first encountered tiger nut flour at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, where the person working the cash register told me that one of the bakers loves it for gluten-free baking. I hadn't heard of the ingredient before (it is apparently some kind of tuber) and it took me a while to find a compelling recipe for the flour. Some of the pictures I saw looked similar to my early almond flour experiments - flat and dry. Some recipes I saw seemed better, and they all had tapioca flour. Once I restocked my tapioca flour, I gave these ago.

These were a bit rubbery but I feel like the 25 minutes in the recipe I adapted was far too long. I took them out at 20 but probably should have checked at 15.... so I am not certain if that's the only issue or if it's the flours. Also either the tiger nut or the tapioca wasn't completely finely ground, so the brownies had a bit of an unexpected crunch. The batter was gorgeous - glossy and thick. The brownies themselves were definitely passable for people who rarely have brownies!

Tiger Nut Flour Brownies
(adapted from A Calculated Whisk)

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick or 8 tablespoons)*
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup tiger nut flour
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter, coconut sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan over very low heat. Stir frequently until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat and cool until warm, at least 15 minutes. The mixture will appear gritty.
  3. Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring thoroughly after each one. The batter should be glossy and smooth. Add the tiger nut and tapioca flours and stir vigorously again until no floury bits remain.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for about 20(?) minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs but not covered in goo. Cool completely in the pan, then remove the brownies by lifting up the parchment, transfer them to a cutting board, slice, and serve. Store leftover brownies in the refrigerator for up to four days.
*I didn't have quite enough butter so I used 2 tbsp coconut oil and 6 tbsp butter. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Frequently Made Recipes

Life has been so crazy I have not baked a thing all week! So I thought I'd just link to some recipes I make often. I'll be back next week with something new. I have saltines, condensed milk, and some lemons... any guesses?

The way we eat most days (lower sugar, lower carb)
Grain-free banana chocolate chip muffins
Fluffy Paleo Pancakes
Lower Carb Grain-free Scones
Gluten-free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread - regular fall rotation!
Gluten-free oven apple pancake

Recipes for regular people or special days
Ratio pancakes - easy to make for one on a workday
Apple slab pie - seriously the best crust recipe ever
Pannukakku - this would get the award for the recipe I've converted others into making the most!