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Classic Cherry Pie

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If you had trouble accessing the Preacher Tuna Salad recipe yesterday, I apologize. I accidentally posted it twice and deleted the original, making the link most everyone got lead to nowhere.  You can click here to view the recipe.With the 4th of July holiday quickly approaching, I thought it was about time I shared my favorite cherry pie recipe.  Maybe it’s all the red, but it just seems very festive to me! :)  There’s nothing fancy about it, unless you consider a lattice top crust fancy, but it’s a very good pie and excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I love the flavor the almond extract adds, to me it is the essential key to a good cherry pie.

I love my Perfect Pie Crust above all others, and is the crust pictured here.  I highly recommend it for any and all pies, but truth be told, I just as often use a box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.  Judge me if you must, but it saves so much time!  If you buy pre-made crusts, don’t bother with generic/off-brands, they are awful. Pillsbury is pretty good if you don’t have time to make your own.

Classic Cherry Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Pastry for a two-crust pie
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 (14.5 oz) cans tart cherries in water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
Milk & coarse sugar for top crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out one pie crust and line a 9” pie plate; place in refrigerator. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar & cornstarch and mix well. Drain the juice from the cherries into the pan with the sugar & cornstarch; set the cherries aside. Stirring constantly, cook the juice mixture over medium heat, until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, almond extract, and food coloring, if desired, until butter is melted. Stir in the cherries. Spoon into prepared pie plate. Roll out second disc of dough and cut into strips with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. Arrange strips on top of filling to make a lattice design. Seal and flute edges. Brush milk over crust and sprinkle with sugar. Place on middle oven rack and put a cookie sheet below to catch any spillover. Bake 30 minutes, then put a pie shield on the pie to protect the crust from over-browning. Bake another 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool at least two hours or overnight before serving.

Veronica’s note: I tend to cook my fruit pie filling until extremely thick, as I prefer my pies not to run at all when cut, as you can see in the photos. If you like yours to run a little, just follow the directions and you’ll be fine. My weirdness for cooking it until nearly cement is not included in them. :)  Also, I have a step-by-step video tutorial on another pie that includes how to make a lattice design here.

**Be sure to visit my “Current Favorites” in the sidebar at the right for other recipes that would be a great addition to your July 4th menu.**

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Traditional Turkish Delight {gluten-free & vegan}


Turkish Delight is perhaps the recipe I’ve been wanting to make longer than any other, for  over twenty years!  I’ve wanted to try it ever since I was in elementary school and read about the Turkish Delight which the witch seduced Edward with in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  It just sounded so delicious!  Dennis also told me years ago that he also has wanted to try Turkish Delight ever since reading the book.  So this year I decided to make it for him for Valentine’s Day, and to send it to my matches for The Sweetest Swap as well.

I decided to go with the traditional recipe, which doesn’t include gelatin and takes quite a long time to make.  But the texture is worth the effort!  I took my recipe and method from Titli’s video, and I tell you this woman is mad, but I love her.  You have to watch a few of her videos to start jiving with her craziness.  Anyway, we discovered that we quite liked Turkish Delight, especially the nice soft, chewy texture.  It’s similar to a jelly candy but really so much softer that it’s not really jelly-like at all, it’s just the closest thing I can compare it to. And so smooth!  The flavor is very nice, bright from the lemon juice, and mysterious & romantic from the rose water.  While the rose water is nice, I think I would like this a lot better using lemon extract and would suggest it if you don’t have the rose water, but cutting the amount down to maybe a teaspoon (or to taste) since it’s much stronger than rose water.

The downside is that they tend to weep.  You should store them packed in the extra powdered sugar, but even so, after only a day mine were pretty much a mess.  I wish I’d taken photos right away because right after cutting and dredging in powdered sugar, they were so pretty with such smooth surfaces.  Instead I took my photos two days later when the bowl had turned into  the nastiness above. :( I had to cut off the worst of the edges and then roll them in fresh powdered sugar for my photos, but believe me they are so much prettier the first day!  I asked Titli if this was normal and she said it was likely our damp weather to blame, but even so, hers start weeping after four days.  Her cure for the weeping?  “Eat them quickly!” lol

This is what my poor swappees received (along with a dozen oatmeal candies–thank goodness I sent enough of those to make up for the Turkish Delight mess!)–photo courtesy of Shesten M.

If I haven’t scared you off with my cautionary photos, here’s the recipe!  Just be sure to make this when you’re enjoying a spell of dry weather and perhaps when you have enough company to polish them off within a few days.

Turkish Delight

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Note: I followed the gram measurements for this recipe, using my kitchen scale.

3 ½ cups water, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups (800 g) sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (120 g) cornstarch
1 tablespoon rosewater
Few drops of red food coloring (I used icing gel coloring)

For dusting
1 cup (160 g) powdered sugar
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch

Oil an 8” square pan, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups of the water, the lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil while stirring and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 115C (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups water, the cream of tartar, and the cornstarch. Bring to a boil, using an electric mixer to beat it on low speed the entire time. It will get thick quite quickly. It will be very milky and opaque in the beginning, but will get more clearish. Once it is a thick gluey paste and turns more and more clear, add in a little of the sugar syrup and beat with the mixer until blended. Scrape down the sides of the pan, and add a bit more at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. When all the syrup is added, it will be thick but fluid. Turn on the heat again and bring to a gentle boil. Turn heat to low and simmer very, very gently for about an hour, stirring frequently (I stirred every 1-3 minutes). It will turn a light golden brown color. Add in the rosewater and food coloring if desired, and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and shake the pan to make sure the mixture reaches all the corners. Allow to sit at room temperature until set, about 3-5 hours, or overnight.

Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch for dusting and sift them together into a large bowl. Sift some on top of the pan of Turkish Delight. Sift some over a surface, then turn the Turkish Delight upside down onto prepared surface. Carefully remove the paper and sift some sugar over the top. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the Turkish Delight into small squares. Put the squares into the bowl of sugar and toss them around every so often. Once all are added, toss them around really well to make sure they are well coated with the sugar/cornstarch mixture.

To store, place Turkish Delight in a container with an airtight lid, and pour the sugar/cornstarch mixture over the top to keep them from weeping or sticking together.

Recipe source: Titli’s Busy Kitchen

Sweetest Swap Recap

The swap went very smoothly and I was lucky enough to get 6 packages in the mail!  They disappeared all too quickly…

Oreo & Biscoff Truffles from Shania, Lemon Muddy Buddies and Pretzel Caramel Bark from Lynn.  Dennis ate all the Oreo Truffles by the time I got home, so I’m glad I got one before I left for work! I enjoyed the Biscoff Truffles all to myself, which was fine by me because I liked them even better.  Lynn wasn’t a match of mine, but she was kind enough to send me two packages! One stuffed with the Lemon Muddy Buddies (YUM!) and another with the Pretzel Caramel Bark (love salty and sweet!).  Thank you ladies!

Snickers Bars from Laurie.  Wow!  Talk about impressive.  These were every bit as good as they look and I had trouble saving any for Haus.  I had to beg him to hurry up and eat some before I ate the whole package. LOL!

Vanilla Sea Salt Caramels from Shesten (that’s Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt on them). Oh so incredible.  These I ate one after another until they were all gone, in just a matter of minutes.  Poor Haus.  Poor me! I need a refill, Shesten. ;)

In total, 1,275 candies were exchanged through our swap, and because swapper Marcia L. registered us with Cookies for Kids Cancer, Barmioli Rocco matched $1 for each and we raised another $1,275 for pediatric cancer research just by doing what we love to do.  And I’m also very glad to report that we had zero flakes for this swap!  Every single person sent out their candies.  These swaps just keep getting better.  Thank you to all who participated, I had a ball.

 

Perfect Pumpkin Pie


I make this pie every year for Thanksgiving and every year I forget to blog it when Thanksgiving rolls around again.  Well that ain’t happenin’ this year!  I need this sucker on my blog for next year when I make the pie and need to look up the recipe.  It will be so much easier to find it where I keep all my favorites. :)

This is all you need to make the pie. How simple could this be?

If you’re looking for a simple traditional pumpkin pie recipe, this one has got you covered.  I prefer pumpkin gooey butter cake to pumpkin pie, but I have to provide a real pumpkin pie for those who actually enjoy it in my family, namely our oldest nephew, who is a pumpkin pie purist.  This simple recipe has a traditional taste, but comes together quickly with a purchased crust, and because it combines two ingredients (milk & sugar) into one (sweetened condensed milk), and uses pumpkin pie spice, there is much less measuring than with a traditional recipe.

Despite my yearning to add more ingredients (sweet potatoes! cream cheese! vanilla bean! booze!) to change things up, I always resist this since I know my oldest nephew wouldn’t touch anything but a real pumpkin pie.  And I’m always pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it tastes without any extra additions.  Great texture with a perfect balance of spices & sweetness.  May the pumpkin pie purists in your family rejoice & be thankful.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (9″) unbaked pie crust (frozen deep dish, refrigerated or homemade)
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
OR 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ginger + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, for brushing onto the crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you’re using refrigerated or homemade crust, roll it out and fit it into a 9″ pie plate (not deep dish–you only want deep dish if using a frozen crust).

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add the remaining ingredients, except for the egg white, and beat to combine.  Do not go crazy with the beating, you just want everything mixed without excessive air bubbles.  Set filling aside and brush the egg white over the bottom and sides of the pie crust.  This will create a seal & help prevent the crust from becoming soggy.  Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. I don’t like to mar the pretty surface, so I bake the pie until it is mostly set but still a little jiggly in the center because the residual heat will continue baking it after you remove it.  Cool pie completely before cutting. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Recipe source: adapted from Eagle Brand Perfect Pumpkin Pie

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