Pies/Cobblers

Spinach Custard Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s appropriate to eat as much pie as you want, right? Well, maybe not. Pies in general are pretty easy to make yet seem so daunting. I admit, I’ll plan on making a pie for dessert next Thursday but this week, I still need to try to eat healthy. But who says you can’t have a healthy pie? Not all pies have to be sweet or have to have crust. So, when I came across this recipe for Spinach Custard Pie, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for.

Frozen chopped spinach is the base for this pie which has a little onion, red pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Fat-free (or light) sour cream pulls all of this together, giving the mixture the consistency of spinach dip. Topped with a dash of paprika, this vegetarian pie bakes until golden brown and fragrant. Because it’s easy to portion out, this pie is a perfect option for the quick grab-and-go meal that’s packed with veggies. I’m eating this all week for lunch but one could argue that because of the eggs, this could be a breakfast option too. Pie for breakfast or lunch? Yes, please!

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain well. Place spinach in a large bowl.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.

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Add onion mixture, eggs, and egg whites to spinach. Add flour, cheese, butter, salt, pepper and sour cream; stir to combine.

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Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with paprika.

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Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

Spring Strawberry Pie

Sorry for the long silence but I was in Chicago enjoying the awesome weather and stunning Lake Michigan up through this past long weekend and I’ve been in total vacation mode. Can you believe Memorial Day was yesterday? It seemed like the winter was never going to be over and I still worry, despite the fact that it is almost June, that there is still a lingering snowstorm somewhere. Because yesterday was Memorial Day, we like to think that the summer has started but it’s really still Spring for about another three weeks. Maybe you went to a picnic yesterday and ate a lot or maybe you just laid low and celebrated the life of a veteran but no matter what you did, enjoy life this week with something Springy and sweet like this Spring Strawberry Pie.

Strawberries are sliced and cooked with a little balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch creating a chunky, thickened strawberry mixture similar to preserves. This mixture is poured over fresh strawberries and a freshly baked graham cracker crust and topped with a quick crumble of additional graham cracker crumbs, almonds and sugar. Once refrigerated, this pie is ready to be served, especially with a giant dollop of whipped cream, low-fat or regular. Balsamic vinegar and strawberries pair so well together and the vinegar melts away leaving only a complementary flavor and not overly bold taste. This pie is light and scrumptious. My strawberries were still pretty huge so if you can find small ones, all the better (just cut bigger berries in half or quarters). If you don’t feel like making your own crust, you can easily buy a pre-made graham cracker crust to save time.  The strawberries are the real star here (even though I’m a complete sucker for any kind of crust) so if you need to take a short cut, go ahead. This pie is a perfect little treat that takes advantage of strawberries which seem to be so abundant right now. Got too many from the farmer’s market? Meet this pie.

DSC05087Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

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To prepare the filling, combine strawberry slices and vinegar in a medium nonstick skillet. Place the berry mixture over medium-high heat; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Cool completely.

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Arrange whole strawberries, stem sides down, in crust. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over whole strawberries. Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours.

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To prepare the topping, combine 3 tablespoons cracker crumbs, nuts, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter in a small bowl. Place crumb mixture in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown; cool.

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Sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Top each serving with whipped topping.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Fresh Cherry Galette

After being in Connecticut two weekends ago, I was happy as a clam to wake up in my own bed this past Saturday morning with nothing to wake me up but my own internal clock.  I made coffee and spent some serious time cooking, cleaning and organizing my place.  After sitting down and getting sucked into movies like Singles and 28 Days, I found myself realizing at 6pm that I hadn’t stepped one foot outside.  I got myself together and went to Target, which made me aware of two startling things:

  1. It was nice enough to drive with the windows down for once
  2. I sometimes walk around this world as if my head was not attached to my body

For example, I went to Target with no other reason than to look at food processors.  I left Target with a cast-iron skillet, white pepper, 100% pure maple syrup, and soy sauce.  Really?  I didn’t even remember to look at the food processors.  This is what happens to me when I have nothing to do.  I lose my mind.  Shaking my head at my absentmindedness, I proceeded to have a glass of wine with a piece of this Fresh Cherry Galette for dinner.  This is what my Saturdays have come do.  Shopping for kitchen products and eating dessert for dinner.  My how times have changed.

Fresh cherries are tossed with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, folded into a pie crust and baked until golden brown.  The cherries become soft and sweet, but not too sweet making this a lovely, light summertime dessert, or meal, whatever.  I ended up spending my evening watching sci-fi movies in the dark and decided sometimes you just need a day with nowhere to be, no obligations, to do whatever you want.  I love days like that.

The ingredients:

To pit the cherries, use a sturdy straw or the end of a chopstick to poke into the top of the cherry.  Twist and push gently until the seed pops out the bottom of the cherry.  Use gloves to prevent staining your fingers or use a storage bag which will work double duty to catch the seeds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Unroll pie dough.  Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, stirring with a whisk.  Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Combine the cherries, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, rind, and juice; toss well to coat.

Arrange cherry mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Fold dough border over cherries, pressing gently to seal (dough will only partially cover cherries).

Brush edges of dough with milk.  Sprinkle sugar over cherries and edges of dough.

Bake in a 400°F oven for 25 minutes or until dough is browned and juices are bubbly.  Remove from oven; cool on pan at least 20 minutes before serving.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Granulated sugar for turbinado sugar
  • Bing cherries

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Blackberry-Peach Crisp

Have you had blackberries or peaches yet this summer?  I hope so!  Have you baked them with some brown sugar and oats?  Do that next!  For someone like me who has a very prominent sweet tooth, it’s important that I find desserts that satisfy those cravings without making me feel rotten afterward.  My mom used to make apple crisp all the time when I was younger and, as a result, I love a good fruit crisp – especially the “crisp” part.  I mean, flour, sugar, oatmeal, butter, how can you go wrong?  When I came across this recipe for Blackberry-Peach Crisp, I was a little worried that the topping wouldn’t be as sweet and decadent tasting as the good old-fashioned crisps of days past but this dessert did not disappoint.

Fresh blackberries and peaches are mixed with nothing more than fresh orange juice (I used clementine juice!) and vanilla, allowing their natural sweetness to shine through.  The fruit mixture is placed in individual ramekins and topped with a gooey coating of whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, canola oil, and honey which melts together to form a crunchy topping.  The fruit gets perfectly soft and bubbly as it cooks and is delightfully mildly sweet.  This crumb mixture, which is spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, isn’t loaded with flour, thank goodness, but instead has a consistancy closer to granola which makes my toes curl.  And because this dessert is baked in ramekins, portion control is easy to maintain (only 159 calories a serving!).  I could easily make a batch of this crumb topping and eat it with nothing but a spoon and a smile.  And maybe some ice cream.  I’ll keep this recipe close by to use later in the fall with apples and pears.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

If you like this, also check out Blueberry-Peach Cobbler.

The ingredients:

Combine berries, peaches, juice and vanilla in a bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, canola oil, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg with hands until moist and crumbly.

Spoon fruit mixture into four 4-oz ramekins coated with cooking spray.  Scatter crumb mixture evenly over the top of each.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until fruit bubbles and top is golden brown.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Self Magazine

Harvest Pear Crisp

Apple crisp was a common dessert made in my house growing up but it’s not something I think to make now. When I came across this recipe for Harvest Pear Crisp, I knew immediately I had to make it. Pears don’t get much better than they do in the fall and this dish celebrates their sweetness. Sliced pears are mixed with lemon juice to keep from browning and topped with a crumble of brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, butter, and oats. My food processor isn’t working so I made the crumble using a fork and it turned out just fine. But I must tell you a secret: I messed this up. I didn’t realize until after I put the crisp in the oven that I left out two ingredients entirely. A mixture of granulated sugar and cornstarch that was supposed to be added to the sliced pears and lemon juice never made it into the dish. After assuming I’d have to make the dish again, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The brown sugar in the crumble, plus the pears, added enough sweetness to this dessert that it didn’t really need to be sweeter. In fact, if I make this again (which I probably will!), I’ll make it the exact same way.

The ingredients:

Slice the pears and mix them in a bowl with lemon juice (and sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch if you choose to follow the recipe like I didn’t). Pour pear mixture into a baking dish.

In a separate bowl or food processor, combine flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt.

Cut in cold butter with a fork (or food processor). Mix in oats and chopped walnuts.

Pour crumble over pears in baking dish. Bake at 375°F until pears are tender (mine took 45 minutes).

Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream if you so desire).

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Blueberry-Peach Cobbler

I’m a big fan of cobblers and this delicious Blueberry-Peach Cobbler takes advantage of two of summer’s favorite fruits.  When I go to the farmer’s market and end up with leftover fruit, I love throwing them in the oven with some flour and sugar and hope I end up with something as good as this.  A simple, light summer dessert.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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