Monday, June 20, 2011

Waterlogged Stawberries??

Since it was Father's Day, and I have a pretty awesome dad, I wanted to bake something that he would enjoy eating. Trying to figure this out on my own was difficult for many reasons, but the biggest one is that he claims to not like desserts. I called my ma to ask her what she thought I should make and she said a strawberry pie.  We both laughed for a little bit at the fact that my dad claims to not enjoy eating her cookies and such. Honestly, I think he secretly does. It's just the two of them at home these days, and SOMEBODY is eating those treats. I finally called my dad just to ask, what does he actually like. According to Papa Jim, he loves milk chocolate, any type of pastries and pie. He emphasized the pie part, so my mom was right. I guess I shouldn't be shocked, they have been married for what probably feels like forever. Joking, joking. One of the bazillion reasons I love my dad is because he doesn't ask for anything. Well, other than help with yard work.  I hate yard work, so instead of driving to North Dakota to help with yard work, I made a pie in honor of my dad. The sad thing is he didn't even get any, and if you ask him, he'll probably say that sounds about right.

I was pretty excited after my mother had told me to make a strawberry pie because I had seriously just seen an ad on Twitter for a Strawberry Festival in Cottage Grove. You are probably wondering who on Earth I follow on Twitter, but you don't need to worry yourself with that.  This festival was Friday through Sunday and I had decided I wanted to go Sunday. There was a pancake breakfast on Sunday and I knew I would get my boyfriend in the car for sure if I offered him breakfast.  We wake up early on Sunday morning, like other elderly couples, and drive to the Cottage Grove Strawberry Festival for our pancakes, and strawberries of course.  So, we get to this park and when we finally walk up to the 'activities' there isn't really anybody there. Shocker, I know.  We find the pancake barn and eat our sausage links and drink out 'orange drink' in delight and all of a sudden the talent contest starts. Here is a little tidbit about me, I mentally can't handle these types of public embarrassments. What do I mean you ask? It's when people go on stage to perform in front of a crowd when they clearly can't sing or dance. I can't handle it, I start rocking back and forth. Needless to say, we finished out breakfast fast and got the hell out of there.  Before we left I bought my farm fresh strawberries. Apparently because of the heavy rain that morning the berries were waterlogged. The man that sold them to us said to, "Eat 'em fast, cut 'em fast, freeze 'em fast". Ummmmm, OK dude.

Since I had to apparently hurry the hell up, I made that pie as soon as I got home.  That was a lot of strawberry choppin'! I used a recipe from Christopher Kimball. I have a love/hate relationship with that man, but his pies looked pretty tasty. The recipe I used is actually called the Master Recipe for Fruit Pie. Apparently you can use any type of fruit and the rest of the ingredients are the same.  I have a confession, I didn't make my own pie crust for this one. It was incredibly hot and humid. My grandmother told me that things rarely work in high humidity, so I listened. Thanks for the excuse grandma! Here is the recipe, I hope you can get your farm fresh berries as well, 'tis the season!!

Master Recipe for Fruit Pie
(Makes one 8- or 9-inch double crust pie)

1 double crust pie dough
8 cups fruit, prepared (peeled, cored, sliced)
1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons Minute Tapioca

1. Toss the fruit with the other ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out your pie dough into your pie plate.  Add fruit mixture, and place remaining dough on top of fruit. Crimp top and bottom crusts with your fingers or fork to close.  Cut three small slits in top of crust for air vents.  If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

3. Set pie on a baking sheet, (VERY IMPORTANT), place in oven, turning oven down to 350 degrees.  Bake for 1 hour.  Check after 35 minutes and rotate if pie is not browning evenly.  Juices should bubble before removing pie from oven.
4. Let pie sit and cool to room temperature before serving so that juices thicken (allow at least 1 hour).

This pie was incredibly easy to make.  My only issue was that mine didn't thicken enough. It was to runny, which means I should have added more thickener. Lesson learned!! Also, I usually  put a foil wrap on the edges of the pie crust.  I don't want the edges burning!!  I usually take the foil off when there is about 20 minutes or so left to bake.  Even though this pie didn't turn out perfect, it tasted pretty darn good. I hope you're able to try it out so you can let me know exactly how much thickener to put in!! Happy baking.

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