This sister has been one busy gal!   Between baking pies, traveling for work, and trying to decide which CSA  to sign up for this year, I’ve fallen behind on my pie reporting!

Here’s a spring round-up:

Sour Cherry Lattice Pie

I love sour cherry pie. I’m sure my first experience with it was in Door County (where else?). It’s second only to strawberry rhubarb, which my grandmother made somewhat regularly when I was a little tyke.  I made this pie for noshing on after my Trailbreaker half-marathon on March 31 (PR, baby!).  It was good.  I’ve made better.  I overworked the cream cheese crust, taking too much comfort in the fact that the cream cheese slows down the gluten formation in the flour. The filling was also soupy, which I attribute to using frozen cherries. Definitely should have reduced the liquid to a syrup before tossing it all in the pie crust.  Though it’s beautiful, don’t you think?

Recipe adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible.

Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

The first time I made this savory pie was for a breakfast for my dear friend Stephanie’s wedding party the morning of her big day.  This is the first time I’ve used shortening in my crust since I began my pie project.  I felt the tenderness provided by shortening would be important in a quiche. The result was quite honestly, dreamy.  I used a 2/3 butter, 1/3 shortening ratio.  The butter flavor came through strong, and the normal textural problems with  shortening were not noticeable.

Recipe from Cooks Illustrated (which has a lock-down on lots of their recipes). But look! Someone else wrote it down here, so I don’t have to. Use any crust recipe that makes a 10-inch pie, and just use the same ratio of butter to shortening that I mention above to get my spectacular results.

Chocolate Bourbon Pudding … Pie?

Ok, I cheated.  It wasn’t a pie. They were bars.  I was about to leave town and I had milk that would go bad if I didn’t use it.  The crust was a cookie crust, rather than a pastry crust, and the pudding… well, it was delicious.  This recipe could have easily been made in a pie-shaped vessel, so I’m taking some liberties here.

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations.

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

Huh. Looks like the chocolate and bourbon thing is becoming a pattern.  A girl needs her chocolate.  And she also needs a stiff drink on a regular basis (like, daily). Why not combine the two?

Pecan pie on crack is my best description of this thing. So good, and addictive. It’s very reminiscent of the Run for the Roses pie that my mother used to make occasionally, but better because it wasn’t so cloyingly sweet.  Leave it to David Lebovitz to get the perfect balance.  I used his crust recipe, but added a 1/8 tsp of baking powder, and I used bleached flour, which has less protein than unbleached.

It got a little gnarly when I cut it, because 1) I like my pecans chunky and 2) I don’t have the kind of knife that can neatly slice through chunky pecans. But believe me, this ugly duckling was delish.

Onion Custard Pie

What’s getting old on my countertop and in my refrigerator dictates much of what I cook on a daily basis, and it’s no different with my pies.  I noticed my onions starting to sprout, so I made caramelized onions. The leap to quiche was not long.  The filling is caramelized onions, bacon, gruyere, and custard. Very French. Buttery. Rich. I gave half of it away, because I’ve got a marathon coming up  in a few weeks, and preferably, I would like to drop a few pounds rather than gain a few.  (Believe me, a couple of pounds can make a difference over 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement!)

Reciped adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  This is a great book for learning basic techniques.

Honestly, I’m learning a lot about making pies and pie crusts.  Some of it is really technical and boring, so I can’t bring myself to write about it. At least not now.

Maybe when my pie project ends, I’ll do a top 10 list. But that’s not until December, so you’ll just have to wait a few months for list-mania.

Until then, party on.

Next up:  Strawberry rhubarb (unless I decide to make a compote instead).

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