Lemon Raspberry Hand Pies

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By Corinne

What’s better than a pie? A pie you don’t have to share with anyone. A pie crust you only have to wrangle into a 6″ circle without disaster and that will give a rustically beautiful result. Your own personal pie, otherwise known as a hand pie. And what should you fill this treasure with? I highly recommend something special and in season, in this case, summer sweet raspberries.

Raspberries are a tart and delicate treat. I rarely buy them from the store, as they are always expensive and are so perishable. I am, however, fortunate to have a friend who has an absolutely glorious raspberry patch that I have had the pleasure of picking on occasion. If you end up with surprise access to some raspberries, I highly recommend treating yourself to these!

Time: Prep 30 minutes, bake 20-25 minutes (+additional chilling time)

Makes: 8 hand pies

You will need:

Pastry

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar(if desired)
  • 1/2 lb. or 8 oz. vegetable shortening or lard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • cold water

Filling

  • 1 lb of raspberries
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your raspberries and your desired level of sweetness)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

Egg wash + sugar for sprinkling

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar if desired, divided (I generally omit the sprinkling sugar, but it does look pretty)

**Both the filling and the pastry can be made the day before and then assembled when needed.

I have successfully worked with this pastry dough after chilling for as little as 10 minutes, but it is much easier to work with when it has chilled for at least an hour.

Make the filling first. Add fruit, sugar and lemon zest to a wide saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 5-6 minutes until fruit is broken down. Add cornstarch and water mixture and stir for a minute until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you make the pastry. 

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Stir the flour and salt together. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the shortening is in pea size pieces.

In a measuring cup, combine the egg and vinegar. Add enough cold water to make 1/2 cup.

Stir the liquid into the flour mixture a tbsp or two at a time, mixing with a fork. Add just enough to make the dough cling together. If you need more liquid, add cold water 1 tbsp at a time. 

Knead with hands until mixed thoroughly (knead as few times as necessary to bring to dough together. Do not over knead), then gather the dough into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour, or you can chill overnight, but leave it at room temp for 10 minutes before rolling.

Line a baking sheet with  parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form a dough piece into a ball, place on a floured work surface, and roll into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Spoon about ¼ cup of pie filling in the center. Do your best to avoid the temptation to overfill.

Fold dough over filling, leaving about 1/2 inch of dough below the top crust. Press dough closed around filling.

Fold the overhanging bottom part of the dough up over the top edge, working your way around the crust, pinching together

Crimp the edge closed. This video gives a great demonstration of this technique at about 3:22. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Use a spatula to lift pie onto prepared baking sheet. **at this point you can freeze the pies if desired. Pies can be cooked directly from frozen, add about 10 minutes onto the cooking time. 

Whisk egg together with milk. Brush the top of each hand pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Cut 3 small vent holes in the top of each pie.

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Bake in the preheated oven until pies are golden brown and filling is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes. 20180810_124424.jpg

 

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Vegan Breakfast Cookies

By Corinne

I like my cookies soft and not too sweet. I like to think of these as ‘breakfast cookies’ as there is some goodness packed in there. These cookies stay soft even after baking, but the sunflower seeds and almonds give them a bit of a crunch.   I prefer them without chocolate chips, but my husband has more of a sweet tooth and prefers them with.  They are vegan as long as you use chocolate chips with no milk solids.

Time: prep 10 min, bake 20-22 min per batch

Makes: about 48 medium sized cookies

Oven: preheat 350F

You will need:

  • 3 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2-1cup lightly packed brown sugar (I tend to use the smaller amount as I find with the other sweet ingredients(cranberries, chocolate chips) they are sweet enough.
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (roasted, salted)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds(need nut free? Substitute pepitas-shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (If you love cardamom and would like it to be more ‘present’, go 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp cardamom instead)
  • 1 can (398 ml) 1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together all dry ingredients. Melt virgin coconut oil in microwave, about 1 minute. Add coconut oil, canned pumpkin to dry mixture and thoroughly mix together. This can be done pretty easily by hand, or if you have a mixer, that works too.

Roll a scoopful of cookie dough into a ball between your palms, then squish flat.  They cook into whatever shape you make them now and they don’t spread or ‘puff up’  so you can snuggle them up close together.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cookies will be slightly browned around the edges, bottoms and tops. Cool completely and store in an air tight container, or freeze and take out just a few at a time as desired.

*oats are one of those ‘maybe’ items for many celiac people. While oats themselves are gluten free, crops may be contaminated with wheat. Some brands of oats will say ‘gluten free’ and others don’t.

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Blueberry Lime Pie

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 1 9-inch pie

Time:  1 hour plus 1 hour chill and 50 min cooking time.

I once made Blueberry Lime jam, and it was fantastic, so why not make a pie?  Simple really, all I did was substitute out the lemon juice for lime.  I have to tell you, not only is it tasty, but the house smells amazing.  Blueberries are in season right now and I was able to get 4 quarts for a $3.99, which is really the only time they are affordable enough to make a pie.  Unfortunately, Evelyn ate half of them in the grocery store so I had to go back today for more to make the pie.  We decided to walk there, since the local foodland is close, with Evelyn happily pushing her stuffed bear in her stroller.  All was good… and then she stepped on a pine cone.  The CRUNCH terrified her and convinced her that some horrible monster-bug was hiding in the pine cone and that it was going to eat her. Immediately.  We were halfway to the store.  The peaceful blueberry mission turned into March of the Screaming Child, who was holding so tightly to my neck you would have sworn that the boogey-man himself was after her.  No amount of convincing would assure her that the pine cones were not evil, nothing that was going to get her, and everything was ok.  She calmed down briefly in the store, where we paid 3.99 for ONE quart of the precious blue gold, and then screamed about birds trying to get her all the way home while daddy carried the stroller.  It just goes to show you that your whole day can change with one pine cone.  After much effort the pie was made, and it was worth it.

I would try this crust even if you already have a favorite.  It’s the only all-butter crust that I’ve made that is tender and flaky, and you know what?  I MADE IT IN THE MIXER!  That’s right, no tedious pastry blending, no fear of over-working.  I once left this crust in the mixer and forgot about it and it still came out delicious (although it was a bit hard to roll that time).  It can be a bit delicate to roll out, so take your time.

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You Will Need:

For The Crust

  • 2 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp ice water

For the Filling

  • 6 cups fresh blueberries, if using frozed make sure they are thawed and dry
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch (or flour if your prefer)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of butter to dot the filling after its in the pie shell.

Prepare The Crust

Preheat oven to 425F

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In your mixer bowl, with the paddle attached, mix the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Add the butter and increase speed to 2 until the mixture looks grainy and the butter is mostly in pea sized pieces.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg and the cold water together and add to your flour mixture.  Mix until it comes together into a dough.  Turn out on to a floured surface and knead a couple of times, divide into two round discs, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for a min of 1 hour.

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When chilled, remove from fridge, flour counter, and roll out into a circle.  Make sure to flour both sides of the dough.  My favorite technique for this is to turn the dough continuously 1/4 turn at a time as I roll.  If the dough starts to stick, add more flour.  Continue turning it every time you roll until it’s 10 inches in diameter or larger.  Try to get it to 1/8″ thick and try to make it the same thickness all the way across so it cooks evenly.  This can take practice.  If this is your first time, don’t get discouraged.  It took me about 20 pies and 10 different recipes to get any good at it.

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Lay your crust across the bottom of the pie plate and gently press it into the corners.  Place the crust in the fridge while you prepare the filling and roll out the top.

Prepare The Filling

In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lime juice and cinnamon.  Stir until combined.  Put aside.  On a floured counter, roll out the top crust.

Assemble The Pie

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Place the filling in the crust, mounding it towards the center.  Dot with butter.  Trim the crust around the pie plate so there is no excess.  Place the top crust over top of the filling and tuck the edges under the bottom crust.  Use two fingers on one hand and place them under the crust edge.  Use your index finger on the other hand to gently press and create a crimp.

Option:  To make your crust brown nicely, use an egg wash.  Whisk an egg with a tbsp of milk or water and brush evenly over crust.

Cut steam vents in the top crust, be sure not to cut through the bottom!

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Place in oven at 425 for 10 min.  Then reduce to 350F and cook for 40 min more.  If the edges of your pie brown too quickly, cover with a pie shield.

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Cool completely before serving.

Cherry Clafoutis

 

20170704_121119By Corinne

What is clafoutis? It’s traditionally a French dessert (but I love it for breakfast!). I don’t even know how to properly describe it- it’s somewhat like a custardy dense cake that’s full of delicious fruit. In any case, it whips together so quickly that you can have it ready to go by the time your oven is preheated.

Clafoutis is one of those magical dishes that can work for either breakfast or dessert. If you want to finish it with some powdered sugar, or even some whipped cream, or ice cream to make it dessert then go for it! I tend to make it for breakfast, and because I am impatient and hungry I’ve almost always eaten it hot right out of the oven, though traditionally it’s served room temperature or chilled.

Speaking of tradish, if you want to not pit your cherries, that’s actually the traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis. I’ve done it both ways, apparently leaving the pits in is supposed to impart a subtle almond flavour, but I’ve never noticed a difference and prefer to pit my cherries even though it’s a little more prep. Totally up to you!

Serves: 4 for breakfast, 8 for dessert

Time: prep/preheat 10 min(400F), bake 25-35 min depending on baking dish used.

You will need:

  • generous 2 cups of cherries, pitted or not as you wish 🙂
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum or amaretto

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9-10 inch glass pie plate, or stoneware pie plate (what I used in the pictures) or a cast iron skillet. Baking time will depend on what dish you use- and whether it’s nine or ten inches. I find using a glass pie plate only takes 25 min, while using my stoneware pie plate takes 35 min.

Pit your cherries if you wish, and put them in the buttered dish.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. For the rest of the instructions you can either whisk by hand or use a mixer, I do either depending on how I’m feeling that day :). Whisk 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Then gradually add the butter, whisking until it’s incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the tbsp of spiced rum. The batter should be very smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and pop into the oven. Check at 25 min. Give the pan a little jiggle, if your clafoutis wobbles give it some more time. When it’s finished it should be slightly browned and almost set in the middle. By almost set, I mean when you give the pan a shake there should only be a little wobble in the very middle. If you find it’s browning too much on top, throw a piece of tinfoil lightly over the top until it’s finished.

Serve room temperature or chilled, or hot out of the oven if you just can’t wait 🙂

Easy Hermit Cookies

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 3 dozen cookies

Time:  10min mixing, 12 min baking.

My grandmother made hermit cookies that were one of my favourite treats.  When I think of them, I remember the sound of the screen door on the porch, the texture of the carpet under my bare feet, and the way the smell of raisins and spice hit you when you opened the door into the house.  She would be standing there in a crazy-patterened house-dress, one fist on her hip, stirring something and humming under her breath.  If you were really lucky she would be singing.  I’m shocked to say that these are actually better than hers, (which were almost sort of muffiny-fat dense cookies).  There is no dough- chilling involved, just mix and bake!  Perfect for homemade in a hurry.

I should tell you that I love raisins. I probably put them in more things than I should. Even if you’re not a raisin cheerleader like I am, I encourage you to try these.  The dough is sweet so the walnuts are important to provide balance, salt too.  Watch these carefully –  with the addition of the spices it’s hard to tell when the edges start to brown.  You want them to to be browned around the edges and slightly coloured on top.  If you over-bake them they will still be delicious… just dunk them in some milk!

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You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts – toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Cream the butter with the sugar and beat on high for 2-3 min.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between.  Add the vanilla and beat for 2 min.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, baking soda and spices.  Add to the cookie mixture a third at a time, beating well in between.  Add the raisins and the nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

Using a cookie scoop is a bit challenging since the dough is so fluffy.  You want 1 inch balls of dough dropped onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  This makes the perfect size cookie. Don’t flatten them out, they will settle as they bake.

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Bake at 375F for 9-12 minutes.  See that gaping hole below where once there was a cookie? I may have stuffed one in my mouth while they were still 375F, possibly burning the roof of my mouth and impairing my ability to taste for the rest of the day.

Worth It.

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Sparkling Grapefruit Pound Cake

By:  Julie

Serves:  1 5×9 pound cake

Time:  1 hr 20 min

If you have been toying with making a desert I’ve posted but can’t commit, I’d start with this.  Just make it. I promise, you won’t be sorry.  It’s moist, and sweet, and completely delicious.  I almost ate all of the batter raw, it was that good.

Today I had to hit the local Foodland for some ingredients for lasagna.  While I was was waiting in line at the checkout I perused the shelving at the end of the isle and found this:

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Grapefruit Italian Soda.  It was on-sale, unsurprisingly.  I can’t imagine there is a huge market in Dresden for Grapefruit Italian Soda. I had been toying with the idea of making a pound cake but somehow it seemed boring.  This, my friends, is not boring.  Its tangy and sweet and beautiful.  It was easy to prep and did I mention that we completely demolished the cake between 4 people?  There is a tiny portion left which I have hidden because I love all the people in my house and I would hate to have to maim one of them if they ate the last piece.

Pound cake gets it’s name because originally it had a pound of each sugar, flour, eggs, and butter.  I have seen this made.  It is a bad idea.  Martha Stewart even says so.  Martha herself makes pound cake with no leavening and depends completely on the beating of an enormous amount of eggs to create lift.  I don’t want to have a heart attack so the butter is cut back, as well as the eggs.  This recipe has a teensy bit of baking powder for lift because it only has 3 eggs. The base came from a Taste Of Home magazine and I tore it out intending to make it years ago… I’d say oops except I’m pretty sure fate was waiting for this soda to go on sale.

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You Will Need

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 5-6tsp sparkling grapefruit Italian soda
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Prepare The Batter

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 5×9 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Cream the butter and the sugar on high until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.  You are adding air at this stage so don’t rush it.

In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add about a third and mix.  Add a third of the soda, then mix.  Keep adding both the dry ingredients and the soda in thirds until the batter is well beaten.  It will be a beautiful yellow and be slightly foamy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the center of oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

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Allow to cool in pan for 10 min and then move to cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.

For The Glaze

Combine icing sugar with 5 tsp of soda.  You want it to be fairly thick.  Just barely pour-able.  Pour it over top and allow it to drip over the sides.

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If you can wait long enough, allow the glaze to harden and serve.

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Coconut Brownie Bars

By: Julie

Makes 1 7×11 pan of awesomeness.

Time:  6 hours including chill time.

Last week, while eating the brownies I made I had a thought.  An epiphany really.  A dream of coconut and dark chocolate that would eclipse even the bountiful bounty bar.  And then I made these:

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If you are a fan of Nanimo Bars, these bars are right up your alley. They have a cocoa-brownie bottom, with a coconut filling and a dark chocolate top.  If you are in to rich chocolate and coconut, you will love these.

You Will Need:

For the brownie bottom

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

For the coconut center

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut

For the chocolate top

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 tbs butter

Prepare the Brownies

Preheat the oven to 320F and line a 7×11 pan with parchment paper (I haven’t tested it but I’m sure an 8×8 would work just as well).

Combine the butter, cocoa, brown sugar and salt in a pan and stir until combined and butter is just melted.  Remove from heat.  When the mixture is luke-warm, stir in vanilla, and then eggs, one at a time until well combined.  Add flour and stir until flour is incorporated.  Spread mixture into prepared pan and place in the center of oven for 18-20 min until just a few crumbs stick to a wooden skewer.

Allow to cool completely.

Make The Filling

Combine the coconut with the condensed milk and spread evenly over brownie mixture.

Make The Top

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter and stir until combined.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until mixture is close to body temperature, then pour over coconut.  Spread evenly and place pan in fridge.  Cool for two hours and transfer to freezer.  Freeze for an hour before cutting.  This will allow you to get a clean cut without smooshing the bar and having coconut ooze out.  Cut small, they are packed with a punch and are rich.

This dessert should be served cold and kept in the fridge to keep it’s shape and texture.