In New England, we love to celebrate the fall season. Fantastic morning with warm sunny days, jewel-tone leaves, farm roadside stands bursting with the last of summer’s bounty all signal the change in the seasons. Nature’s premier show is on display for all to enjoy. Fall baking is one of my favorite pastimes, and I especially love to make apple desserts. Going through all my posts, I realized I’m kind of obsessed with apples, cakes, pies, cupcakes, and more. When I’m creating a new cake or pie, the fall inspires me to give nature my all and go wild! Here are a few of the fall favorites that I have posted over the years.
Blueberries are my favorite fruit! If I can stop eating all the fresh blueberries long enough, I love to make blueberry pies. I love so many wonderful blueberry pie recipes, but this one is perfect for the 4th of July! Perfect for a backyard barbecue or to take along to a family reunion, just so wonderfully delicious! If you are short on time or just don’t want to make your own crust, use store-bought refrigerated pie crust, which you can find in the dairy section of your grocery store. I like Pillsbury.
Fabulous All American Blueberry Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup sweet butter (love my Cabot!)
7 tablespoons cold water
6 cups blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon whipping cream
Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry blender, cut in shortening, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle water over the top and mix it together with a pastry blender or fingers until it comes together to form a ball. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Filling: Place rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 F. (I like to put a piece of aluminum foil down or a baking pan on the bottom of the range to catch any drips and keep my oven clean.) Place blueberries in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for the butter. Add dry ingredients to blueberries and gently toss.
Divide pastry in half. On a floured surface, roll one of the pastry halves into a 12 inch round. Fit into a 10-inch pie plate, letting the pastry hang over the edge. Fill with blueberry mixture. Dot with butter. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining dough to 12 inches round. Place over pie. Seal edges and crimp to form a decorative rim.
Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and cream. Brush the top of the pie with glaze. Cut vents into the pie top. You can use mini cookie cutters for a more decorative top.
Bake pie for 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Bake pie for 35 or 40 minutes longer or until nicely glazed. Cool on rack.
I love to bake, and making pies is a favorite of mine. Luscious ripe seasonal fruit makes the most delectable pies. Who can resist a delicious piece of pie with vanilla ice cream, simple but oh so good! I especially love the combination of nectarine and blueberries. I made my own pie crust, and the recipe follows. But for a quick and easy pie, you can buy the refrigerated pie crust. I like the Pillsbury brand. Don’t be intimidated by a homemade pie crust; the more you practice, the better you become. If time is an issue, you can make the pie crust the day before and refrigerate overnight, then just roll out the dough the next day, add the filling, bake, and in no time, you have a wonderful homemade pie.
And don’t forget an enormous scope of vanilla ice cream.
Makes 2 crusts
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 ” cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. Plus 1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
Process flour, butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, and salt in a food processor until butter is crumbly, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Gradually add 3/4 cups ice water, using a folk stir mixture until dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
6 large ripe nectarines(halved, pitted, and sliced 1/2-inch thick)
1-pint blueberries washed and picked over
3/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tsp. milk
1 Tsp. sugar(for sprinkling)
Heat oven to 425 F and adjust rack to lower to the middle position. In a large bowl, toss nectarines, blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger pastry ball into a circle about 2 inches larger than the 9-inch pie plate. Line pie plate with pastry, trim edge leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill the pie plate with the fruit. Roll out the smaller pastry ball for the top crust. Place on top of the fruit pie. Trim pastry edge leaving an inch overhang. Fold overhang under, then bring up over the pie-plate rim, pinch to form fluted edges. Brush top with some of the egg glaze. Make a few decorative slits in the top and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 40 minutes. Then brush again with remaining egg glaze, sprinkle sugar, and bake for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
I serve with my favorite vanilla ice cream Breyers!
My family loves a traditional Pecan Pie. For years I’ve wanted a more creative pie, like adding chocolate, but , no, no, they tell me. So I no longer ask them; I give them what they want! Here is my traditional Pecan Pie. It’s easy and delicious!
Traditional Pecan Pie
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 – 5 tablespoons cold water
1. Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
3. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
4. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry.
5. Rim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Or you can use a pre-made pie crust(I like Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup of sugar
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans halves
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Whisk the first five ingredients thoroughly. Pour into the pie crust. I like to place the pecan halves in a circular design.
Bake on center rack of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Do not over bake.
TIP: Pie is done when the center reaches 200 F. Tap center surface of pie lightly; it should spring back when done.
If you know me or follow my blog, I love to cook, decorate, and entertain! So this might seem a surprise that I am hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. Yes, you heard, right.
Thanksgiving is the one holiday that you will not find a large group gathered around my dining room table. Traditionally I spent Thanksgiving at my parent's home in Pennsylvania, the one holiday that we were all together again. After my grandson was born, we celebrated at the home of my daughter-in-law's parents, beginning a new phase in our life.
This year due to the pandemic and staying safe, Thanksgiving dinner will be a small group of seven. Individuals that are in our pandemic circle. And I am going to make sure that this is a memorable as every other Thanksgiving!
I've decided to plan my meal backward, beginning with dessert! Growing up, my mother baked a traditional pumpkin pie, which is still my favorite. This year I decided that we are going to have a spectacular Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl pie. And I drizzled chocolate over the pie!
Pumpkin pie is easy to make. To make the pie special, I've added an extra step with the chocolate batter and the drizzle. I've included a basic butter crust recipe, or you can purchase refrigerated pie crust too.
An easy, show-stopping dessert to sweeten up our Thanksgiving dinner even if we are missing sharing with our large family!
Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Pie
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3-ounce Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
All Butter Pie Crust* or 1 (9-inch) Pillsbury Pie crust
2-ounce Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted Cabot butter
Pre-heat over to 425 F. Wish together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth.
Transfer 1 cup of the filling into a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Pour pumpkin filling in the crust. Dollop the chocolate filling on top and swirl with a butter knife.
Bake Pie for 15 minutes. Reduce3 over temperature to 350 F and continue baking for 35 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool.
Make chocolate drizzle. Melt chocolate and butter in a safe microwave bowl at 50 percent for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
Drizzle over pie.
The pie can be refrigerated overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
*All Butter Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup King Arthur's all purposed flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons Cabot unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pause until mixture from lima bean-size pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist but not wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round a scant 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the edge to 3/4 inch; fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively.
August is peach season with fresh picked peaches in all the markets. Peach pie is one of my favorites pies(I know I say that about every pie!). Sometimes you have to do something different, go a little rouge, shack it up! That’s what I did with this Peach Pie, I added Peach Schnapps to the filling, added a streusel topping all in a phyllo pie crust. I just let my creative cooking ideas flow for this show stopping pie!
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
3 3/4 to 4 pounds peaches, peeled with vegetable peeler, halved, pitted, cut into 1-inch wedges
Phyllo Pie Crust:
10 14×9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Stir flour, oats, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture holds together in moist clumps. Mix in pecans. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Stir sugar and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in Peach Schnapps, then peaches; toss. Let stand at least 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Lightly butter 10-inch-diameter tart pan. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in small bowl.
Set rack at lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on clean work surface and brush lightly with butter (keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying). Sprinkle 1scant teaspoonful cinnamon mixture over phyllo. Repeat 4 times with phyllo, butter, and cinnamon mixture. Arrange stacked phyllo in tart pan, gently pressing and allowing long sides to hang over edge of pan. Repeat layering process with 5 remaining phyllo sheets. Arrange stacked phyllo crosswise atop first sheets so that overhanging corners point in opposite directions. Roll overhang in to form edge of crust.
Spoon filling into crust. Scatter topping over, breaking up large clumps.
Bake pie 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F; bake until juices bubble thickly and topping is golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 30 hour. Cool on rack at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thanksgiving for me is a time to reflect and celebrate gratitude by giving back and spending time with family and friends. I don’t remember when my women’s club started the tradition of assembling and donating Thanksgiving baskets to needy families in our town, just that each year as the need has grown we donate more baskets. We partner with our town’s Youth Services director, who identifies the families along with delivering the baskets. We never know who among our neighbors receives our baskets although sometimes with extreme gratitude a recipient reaches out to us to thank us for our generously. No thanks are ever needed or expected as we are the ones that are filled with joy knowing that we have helped families just like ours enjoy a holiday celebration.
Preparation of our Thanksgiving Baskets beginnings in October as our members start donating all the items needed for a Thanksgiving dinner. Along with the traditional fixings for dinner and dessert, we add holiday items including plates, napkins, tablecloths, and candles, all artfully arranged by one of our members who designs gift baskets. Right before the baskets are delivered, we add fresh produce along with a gift card to a local grocery store for the families to purchase turkeys.
I can’t think of a better start to my holiday season than with this tradition reminding me of the true meaning of Thanksgiving not only to give thanks for all that we have but to share with family, friends, and neighbors just like the first Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving morning finds me at a hot yoga class, two hours practicing with gratitude for all that I have been blessed with in my life. Then home to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Each year I alter side dishes but the main star of the dinner is a turkey. I learned at a young age how to handle and prepare poultry from my mother, an outstanding cook – her turkey is far superior to any that I have tasted. My mother taught me to soak turkey overnight in a bath of salt to tender and remove harmful bacteria. First, my mother would freeze a fresh turkey, she believes it seals in the flavor. Then time to soak the frozen turkey overnight. Next through rinsing, draining and patting dry of the bird. I love rituals so my mothers hold a special place in my turkey preparation. I’ve bought a fresh turkey from the farm, from high-end and frozen from a lower-end grocery store. My only hard fast rule is all-natural. How you dress and cook the turkey plays an import part in how good your turkey taste.
Below I’ve shared family favorites that we enjoy for a family dinner.
1 9-inch uncooked deep dish pie crust, frozen then thawed, refrigerated pie crustor homemade
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
15-20 large basil leaves, chopped, about 1/2 cup
2 cups sliced petite multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, save a few to add last
1/2 cup milk, whole milk preferred
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In uncooked pie crust, evenly sprinkle half (1/4 cup) parmesan cheese in the bottom. Next, add tomatoes, saving a few to place on top of the pie. Place mozzarella cheese over tomatoes then add chopped basil.
Top with remaining (1/4 cup) parmesan cheese over the tomato slices. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, cream, garlic, salt, and pepper together. Pour into the pie crust. It should cover all ingredients and fill to the top of the crust. Place remaining tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt.
Place on a cookie sheet in case of spillage. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and soft set.
To say I love to make pies is a true understatement. I am obsessed with pies, especially summertime pies using the most succulent fresh fruits and berries. A hot bubbly pie fresh from the oven, the juices overflowing, dripping down the sides of the pie plate, I can’t think of a better dessert to serve family and friends. Oh, did I mention a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? Simple pleasures, so perfect!
I learned to bake from my mother, Helen, who is ninety-seven years old. She loves to bake and shared her passion with me. I remember, at first watching her make pie dough, combining the ingredients, then she would roll out the dough, and line a pie plate. My favorite part was the mixing of the fruits with sugar and spices and then pour into the dough-lined dish. Next, she would meticulously top with the remaining dough and crimp the edges together. My mother would make vents in the top of the pie, and finish with a brush egg yoke then the pie was ready for the oven.
I just love blueberries and blueberry pie. While traditional blueberry pie is mouthwatering delicious sometimes I just like to change it up so I created this sinful decadent Pecan crumb topped sour cream blueberry pie. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but even this picture can only go so far in capturing the nutty topping with blueberry juice bursting from the fruit all in a creamy custard. I want another piece just writing this! Don’t forget to top with Bryers French Vanilla ice cream.
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2-3 tablespoon water
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. To prepare pastry, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. With pastry blender cut in butter to consistency of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle water one tablespoon at a time, mix until pastry holds together. Shape pastry into a ball.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Turn extra dough at the edge into rim and flute or crimp raised edge. Just before placing the blueberry filling in pie shell, brush with beaten egg.
3. To prepare filling, combine sour cream, cream cheese, egg, brown sugar, flour and vanilla in a bowl. Beat thoroughly until smooth. Preheat over to 450F. Fill pie shell with blueberries. Pour cream mixture over blueberries. Bake 10 minutes at 450F, reduce temperature to 350F and bake 35-40 minutes.
4. Prepare crumb topping by mixing flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, butter, and nuts. Blend to form a crumbly mixture.
5. After baking the pie, remove the pie from oven, cool, then distribute crumb mixture evenly over top. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes more.