Dietmeier Apple Pie

Every time we gathered at my grandparent’s house in southwestern Wisconsin, homemade apple pie could be found at the center of the dessert table.  (Yes, there was always a dessert table.  It was amazing.)   My grandma and grandpa took turns making this family favorite, but it always tasted the same:  deliciously tart, yet creamy, with a hint of cinnamon underneath a crunchy sugar-layer.  To me, this pie is the quintessential fall dessert, and now that we have made the first one of the season, it seems that fall is truly being ushered in.

(The pie recipe is the same as my peach pie recipe that I shared here, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as you did the last.)

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Dietmeier Apple Pie

I make my own crust (recipe found here).  Place the crust in a pie plate (I love using this Stoneware pie plate because it does not burn the crust, and it looks great table side.)  Then I fill the crust with tart sliced apples.

Add about 10 tiny dollops of butter on top of the apples.  Then create a mixture of 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Scoop this mixture over the apples and butter so the entire pie is coated.  Then add just a touch (about 1/4 cup) of water to the pie.  (Just sprinkle it over the top of the sugar mixture.  This creates a delicious custard-like consistency when it bakes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional for 45 minutes.  Allow to rest at least 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

*A note about all my recipes: I use all organic ingredients, local when available. I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified. All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished. All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Just Peachy

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The time has arrived again.  My favorite food time of the year.  Peach season.  There is nothing that ignites more excitement in my taste buds than those handheld orbs of deliciousness.  We are extremely fortunate that my in-laws have a beautiful peach tree on their property that has produced a record number of peaches this year.

So, it has been all things peaches in these parts, my favorite of all being peach pie.  If you are interested in my Grandma Dit’s peach pie recipe, you can find it here.  Enjoy!

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For the Love of Pie

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I am in love.  I am in love with a book…all about pie.  From as far back as I can remember, pies have donned the table of every family gathering.  Whether it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, Easter or Mother’s Day, or even The Fourth of July, pie seemed to take the lead as the star of the dessert show.

My husband has long known of my self-admitted pie obsession, and gave me a fabulous birthday present this year:  A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by one of my fav do-it-yourselfers Ashley English.  After just one flip of the page I knew I was in love.  Oh my.  Each pie looks better than the last, and my girls and I found ourselves nestled on our couch, thumbing through the crisp pages, vowing to make each and every pie in the book by the end of 2013.

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Inspired by the contents of this book, we decided to host an afternoon of pie tasting.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  We spent Monday afternoon, crowded in our warm kitchen with family and friends, eating nothing but pie and drinking mead and coffee.  (I mean, you can’t very well eat a honey pie without honey mead to go with it now can you?)  I think it was the tastiest afternoon I have enjoyed in some time.  Yum.

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Once A Year

One of my favorite times of the year has arrived, and that my friends is peach time!  I love fresh peaches so much in fact that I only eat them when they are in season, in their absolute prime, in the middle of the August heat.

We buy our peaches locally from a family fruit farm where they grow all of their own peaches in their orchard, and they are to die for.  After the market last week, we ran home and got to work on my favorite pie on earth:  Grandma Dit’s Peach Pie.

I still remember being in about forth grade and I was home sick from school because I was running a high fever.   It was late fall, the time when most schoolchildren begin to fall ill, and I found myself buried beneath the afghan on the couch, watching reruns of Saved By The Bell.  My mom asked me if there was anything she could get me to eat that would make me feel any better.  I told her the only thing that would heal what was ailing me was Grandma’s peach pie.  There were no fresh peaches available in late fall in Rockford, Illinois, so my mom did what any good mother would do.  She improvised.  She went to the grocery store and bought a pre-made peach pie.  I took one bite, spit it out and said, “This is not right.  It’s not the same.  Never mind.”

I don’t know why this story has stuck with me for so long, but I think it is because there is no replacement for real, in-season peach pie, using my grandmother’s recipe.  So here goes…

I make my own crust (recipe found here).  Then I fill it with delicious sliced peaches.

I add about 10 tiny dollops of butter on top of the peaches, and then create a mixture of 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  I scoop this mixture over the peaches and butter so the entire pie is coated.  I then add just a touch (about 1/4 cup) of water to the pie.  This creates a delicious custard-like consistency.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

I truly hope you enjoy this recipe that I hold so close to my heart.  Enjoy!

Ode to the Strawberry

In our household, it is always a big day when the first red, ripe strawberry can be picked and enjoyed.  And it seems that after a long year’s wait, we have finally reached that time of year again!

Each day the girls peer into the strawberry patch looking for any signs of red beneath the green mass of leaves and vines.  Their little fingers are just the right size to weave in there and snatch up any berry goodness they can locate.

This week I sat outside, looking at our first full bowl of strawberries of the season and I knew I had to make something that would showcase these little jewels.  While I was thinking, I also remembered that I had a dozen eggs from our farm visit on Saturday, freshly collected by our girls and all.  And that sparked it…I would make a strawberry custard pie.

With pen and paper in hand, I got to work.  I worked assiduously all afternoon, checking out a variety of recipes, making my own tweaks, measuring and mixing and tasting.  After a bit of time, and a little help from my always helpful sous chef (Who has now advanced to age three…she is getting so mature 🙂 ), I ended up with what looked like, and tasted like, a yummy pie.

Here is what I did:

Crust (This crust recipe makes a lot, but I have found that it is easier to make a bit more crust, so that it is less likely to break while transferring to the pie plate.  I just use the extra crust to make a quick cream and sugar pie for the girls to snack on.  See the note at the bottom of the recipe for this super easy recipe idea.)

~Mix 2 1/4 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

~Add 2/3 cup coconut oil (in its solid state).  Mix the coconut oil into the flour using a pastry blender until it resembles crumbs.

~Then add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency for the crust.  (I normally end up with about 10 tablespoons of water.)

~Roll out your crust and transfer it to a pie plate.  Cut off the excess crust and make your desired edge for the pie.

~Blind bake the crust in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

~Allow to cool completely.

(*Note:  I take any extra crust, roll it out and place it in a baking dish.  I then add a few pads of butter, a few tablespoons of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top of the crust.  I then drizzle a bit of cream or milk on top of it all and bake it at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  This will give you a yummy little snack to enjoy while you are making the rest of the pie.  I especially love it because it keeps the little ones occupied while momma works on the other parts of the pie.)

Custard

~Mix 2 cups whole milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 4 tablespoons sugar and one vanilla bean (with seeds removed…you add the seeds as well) in a saucepan.

~Bring the milk mixture close to a boil over medium heat.  Stir often to avoid scorching.  Once the mixture is close to a boil, remove it from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.  After the 5 minutes, remove the vanilla bean.

~In a separate bowl, mix 8 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

~Temper the eggs with the milk mixture.  Do this very slowly and with a whisk.  Once the eggs are tempered, slowly mix the egg mixture back into the remaining milk mixture using a whisk.

~Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of corn starch.

~Then place the saucepan back on low to medium heat and mix constantly with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will gradually begin to thicken.  This will take some time.  Once the custard reaches the desired consistency, remove it from the heat. (You do need to be careful while heating the mixture because if the heat is on too high, or if you cook it for too long, the eggs will begin to scramble.)

~Pour the custard into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

~Once the pudding has set, place fresh, sliced strawberries on top of the pie and enjoy!