This post is for me. That’s right. I’m putting the recipes for each of the pies I’ve learned to bake right here on my web site, so I know where to find them the next time I need them. This will also make them easier to share.

Most of these are adaptations of recipes I’ve seen published elsewhere. For pies, though, I prefer less sugar. So after looking at several recipes for each kind of pie, I tried variations with less sugar…once even forgetting the sugar altogether (accidentally, and not recommended).

So here are the recipes for several of my favorite pies:

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Apple

Given my lack of attention this year (2015), the apple orchard is still not ready for production, although there were a few apples. The cherry tree was amazing though (see: Cherry Pie). With luck, the apple trees will be providing the fruit for the apple pies next fall and winter. For now, though, I’ll make due with apples from the local farmer’s market or grocery store. This recipe makes one pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Roll out two pie dough circles
  3. Combine the following ingredients:
    1. Apples (10-12 Grannies, peeled, cored and chopped)
    2. 3/4 cup cup packed brown sugar
    3. 1 tablespoon lemon Juice (& Zest if you have it)
    4. Spices (1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon allspice, opt. 1 pinch cloves)
    5. 2 tablespoon flour
    6. 2 tablespoon of small butter chunks
  4. Pour ingredients into a crust in a pie pan
  5. Cover with the second crust
  6. Pinch edges
  7. Brush with 1 beaten egg
  8. Sprinkle with sugar and spices (same as above).
Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato

This is the first pie I learned to make. Why? Because sweet potatoes were the first produce I was able to grow successfully in the necessary volume. And you know what? It is really good.

Considering how nutritious sweet potatoes are, and when excess sugar is removed from the recipe, this is the kind of pie you enjoy with coffee for breakfast, or on the plate with any meal, really. This recipe makes two pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut 5 pounds of sweet potatoes in half, lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until soft
  3. Remove and let them cool, remove the skins, puree in a large mixing bowl
  4. Preheat oven to 425F
  5. Add the following into the mixing bowl with the sweet potatoes:
    1. 3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
    2. 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
    3. 1 table spoon of vanilla extract
    4. 2 eggs
    5. 1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  6. In a separate mixing bowl add the following dry ingredients:
    1. 2-3 table spoons all-purpose flour
    2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
    3. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    5. 2 pie shells
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the sweet potato mixture and mix well
  8. Place the empty pie crusts into the oven for a few minutes to brown slightly, then remove
  9. Divide the sweet potato mixture between the two crusts
  10. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes
Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

A couple of technicalities: This is not really pie. It is more of a casserole. And authentic shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, not ground beef. Okay. Whatever. Those details are not going to matter, because on a cool fall or winter evening, with the house closed up, there is not a more inviting aroma while it’s cooking. And not a more satisfying entree, especially when serve with a pint of stout. I still have to go to the local pub if I want to have shepherd’s pie while seated next to a crackling fire, since I don’t (yet) have a fireplace. But at home I leave the oven door open while I’m eating, to bathe the kitchen in its lingering warmth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 minceed garlic clove, or a teaspoon of minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 2 tablespoons worchester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or steamed fresh vegetables)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick of butter

This recipe starts with two simultaneous procedures, one in pot, and the other in a skillet.

Start with the potatoes:

  1. Peel and dice the 4 medium sized potatoes,
  2. Rinse and place in boiling pot of water to cook,
  3. Preheat oven to 425

With the potatoes started, make the beef and vegetables in the skillet:

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into skillet on medium heat
  2. Add minceed garlic, saute’ briefly
  3. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion, saute’ briefly
  4. Add 1 pound ground beef chuck, saute’, breaking the beef into small chuncks
  5. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  6. When the beef is browned, ladel out the grease with a teaspoon
  7. Stir in 1 cup Guinness stout and 2 tablespoons worchester sauce
  8. Stir in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  9. Stir in 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or steamed fresh vegetables)

Back to the potatoes:

  1. Drain cooked potatoes,
  2. Add 1 cup milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper
  3. Whip potatoes until light and fluffy

Now put it all together:

  1. Pour the beef and vegetables into a large casarole dish
  2. Spoon potatoes on top and add texture to the surface
  3. Place in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes
  4. Broil for 5 minutes to add crisp brown highlights to the potatoes
  5. Pour a glass of stout
  6. Remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and serve
Cherry Harvest

Cherry Harvest

Cherry

This recipe is still a work-in-process. The Montmorency cherry tree yielded 10 quarts of raw cherries this year. All the cherries were cooked and stored in 1 quart canning jars as pie filling. One and a half quarts is enough for a cherry pie.

Cherry Pie Filling

Cherry Pie Filling

The following are the approximate ingredients for filling a single pie. These are cooked in a sauce pan, then used immediately for a pie, or canned for later.

  • Fresh pitted tart cherries, 1 & 1/2 quarts (6 cups)
  • Granulated sugar, 1 cup
  • Tapioca flour, 4 tablespoons
  • Cherry juice, 1 1/2 cup
  • Almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice 2 tablespoons – this is only needed if the cherry filling is being canned, rather than going directly into a pie

For a single pie, start by rolling out two pie dough circles:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Place the first into a pie dish
  3. Pour 1 & 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of cherry pie filling in to the shell
  4. Cover the filling with the second crust
  5. Pinch the edges and cut a couple of slits in top crust so it doesn’t fill with air
  6. Place the pie into the oven and bake approximately 50 minutes

Pumpkin

This recipe is useable for butternut squash too. However, I am still figuring out the right ratio of ingredients. This recipe makes two pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut 1 (or two) pie pumpkins in half (2 cups of puree are needed)
  3. Scrape out the seeds (lid to a vegetable can works well)
  4. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until soft
  5. Remove and let them cool, spoon the pumpkin out of the skin, and puree in a large mixing bowl
  6. Roll out two pie dough circles and place into two pie pans

Now preheat the oven to 425F, and add the following into the mixing bowl with the pumpkin puree:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  3. 1 & 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  4. Add the following spices:
    1. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    4. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (used mortar and pestle)
  5. Mix well until the consistency is like pudding
  6. Place the empty pie crusts into the oven for a few minutes to brown slightly, then remove
  7. Divide the pumpkin mixture between the two crusts
  8. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes
  9. Reduce to 350 and bake for 40 minutes