Apple Pie and Pittsburg

Apples from Trax Farm

I have been dreaming of baking an apple pie for several weeks now. The fall chill in the air just seems to beg for the oven to be lit. My husband, Joe and I planned a quick getaway last weekend to Pittsburg. He was born in Pittsburg and grew up in the boro of Castle Shannon. I decided to wait on my pie so I could purchase the apples from a farmers market nearby. Trax Farm has so many different kinds of apples. Joe’s Mom Helen always made her apple pie with star apples. I was going to look for those apples to make my pie just like his mom’s. Unfortunately they had no star apples. Since there were so many different kinds of apples I decided to use a variety of apples for my pie. I chose Jonathan, ginger gold, golden delicious, Jonagold, and granny smith. I loaded up my bag and paid. It was cool enough in the car that they wouldn’t spoil for the few days we were visiting. We had such a great time sight seeing and visiting Joe’s old neighborhood. We even made it to the Steelers game on Sunday due to the generosity of an old college buddy of Joe’s who lives in Pittsburg. I was so excited on our return home to make my apple pie. I waited till the next day and rolled up my selves. I relived our trip in my mind as I prepared the pie. When Joe came home from work that day we enjoyed a piece after our dinner. It was so delicious! I’m sure it was all those different apples and the fact that they came from Pittsburg of course!

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Apple Pie

Double crust pastry

8 cups apples, different varieties of baking apples. Peeled and sliced.

2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

2 tablespoons of whole milk

Prepare your favorite pastry crust chill for a least 1 hour or purchase a ready-made crust. Peel and slice the apples. Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and spices and mix with a spoon until evenly coated. Roll out the bottom crust and fill with the apple filling. Dot the top of the pie with diced unsalted butter. Roll out the top crust and place on top of the apples. Crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with while milk, and then cut slits in the top of crust to make a vent. Bake in a pre-heat 375 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cool and refrigerate and serve cold.

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Creamy Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie

I work with a really sweet lady named Joyce. We have become really good friends over the last seven years; her birthday was a little over a week ago. Joyce had passed a comment at work that she didn’t want birthday cake this year she just wanted a pumpkin pie. I instantly was dreaming of that yummy creamy, spicy pumpkin pie I love to bake for Thanksgiving. Joyce and our dear friend Danny, and I always get together and celebrate each others birthdays. I would have no problem surprising our birthday girl with the pie. While I’m at it I thought I’ll make two, I have to have one to taste to make sure it’s just right!  I met Joyce in the parking lot before we went in and surprised her with the pie. I loved seeing the smile on her face. It’s so fun to surprise people! I’m sure she never thought her wish for pie instead of cake would come true. We all had a lovely dinner and gave Joyce gifts to celebrate her birthday. When I saw Joyce at work that week she told me she really loved the pie. Well so did my husband, son, and I. Our pie was gone in 24 hours I guess we love pumpkin pie! This will be one of the creamiest pumpkin pies you’ve ever had and the spices put it over the top.

Assemble the pie crust ingredients.
Assemble the pie crust ingredients.
Whisk the flour,and salt together.
Whisk the flour,and salt together.
Add the butter and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender.
Add the butter and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender.
It should look like this. Now with a fork slowly add water and the dough will start to stick together and form a ball. You may not need all the water.
It should look like this. Now with a fork slowly add water and the dough will start to stick together and form a ball. You may not need all the water.
Wrap the dough and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hours.
Wrap the dough and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hours.
Roll out the dough on a floured board.
Roll out the dough on a floured board.
Put the crust in the pie plate and crimp the edges.
Put the crust in the pie plate and crimp the edges.

Pie crust

Yields double crust

12 oz. Flour, 1 ½ cups

½ Teaspoon salt

4oz. Ice cold butter in cubes, 1 stick butter

4oz. Ice cold solid shortening, ½ cup, I use Crisco

2-4oz. Ice cold water

In a medium size bowl add the flour and the salt. Whisk together with a wire whisk to incorporate the flour and the salt. Add the ice cold butter, and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender till pea size pieces appear. Add 1 tablespoon of the water at a time into the flour butter mixture. Only use enough water to bring the dough together into a ball. Shape the dough into 2 discs. I used the entire dough for my pie. I have a large pie plate and I like to have lots of dough to work with. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-1 1/2hours. Remove from plastic, flour a large cutting board or your counter top. Dust the rolling pin and roll out the dough it should fit your pie pan with at least 2 inches hanging over. Trim up the dough around the pie plate tuck it under all the way around and crimp the edges. Place the pie crust in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to get it cold again. This will help you get a flaky crust. Add your filling.

 

Assemble your ingredients for the filling.
Assemble your ingredients for the filling.
Beat egg with a whisk.
Beat egg with a whisk.
Add the evaporated milk, milk or cream which ever your using. Whisk together.
Add the evaporated milk, milk or cream which ever your using. Whisk together.
Add the spices and salt. whisk again.
Add the spices and salt. whisk again.
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine all ingredients.
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine all ingredients.
Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 50-55 minutes longer.
Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 50-55 minutes longer.
Serve the pie with fresh whipped cream and just a little sifting of ground cinnamon.
Serve the pie with fresh whipped cream and just a little sifting of ground cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie filling

2 Extra-large eggs

1 1/3 Evaporated milk, 1  12 oz can

½ Cup whole milk, or heavy cream

2/3 Cup granulated sugar

1/3 Cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 ½ Teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 Teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 Teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg

 1/8 Teaspoon ground cardamom

½ Teaspoon salt

2 Cups solid packed pumpkin, I use Libby’s

In a large bowl beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add the evaporated milk and the milk, or heavy cream whisk gently together. Add the sugar, spices, and salt whisk gently. Add the pumpkin and whisk again to combine all ingredients together. Pour into your prepared pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for the first 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40-55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely. Refrigerate the pie for 3-4 hours before serving. I serve the pie with whipped cream with a sprinkle of sifted cinnamon.

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