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Humble Pie

18 Nov

I feel like pie is a dessert that doesn’t get enough credit.

People love it.

People eat it.

No one bakes it.


Because making the crust scares the s**t out of them.

Here’s the thing.

You don’t need a food processor.

You don’t need a special recipe.

You don’t need super-specific measurements.

You don’t need to freak out about over-mixing your dough.

You’re ingredients don’t even need to be cold.

Here’s my story.

I have a recipe for the ‘perfect pie crust.’

I tried it today.

I (almost) totally fudged it.

People tell you to put all of your ingredients (even the flour and sugar) in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you start your crust.

My margarine was fridge-temperature.  My shortening sat in the fridge for about an hour.

I had some ice water.

Everything else was room temperature.

I even kneaded the dough until it turned into a nice, cohesive ball, even though they tell you to just smush it until it comes together.

My crust was perfect.  Flaky.  Buttery.  Crispy.


PIE CRUST (makes enough for one double-crust pie, or two single-crust pies)

  • 3 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 1 c. chilled margarine
  • 1/4 c. vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp. sugar (the recipe calls for 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar, but I just did 1 tsp. and it was fine)
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. ice water

To start, it helps if your margarine and shortening are cut up into cubes.  Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the margarine and butter with a pastry blender.  Slowly add in the water.  Note:  you won’t need all of the water, just enough to bring the dough together.  As soon as the dough starts to clump, smush it together, even knead it a little so that it doesn’t crumble when you roll it out.  Stick the dough in the fridge for a while.  The recipe says it needs to be in the fridge for at least an hour, I just stuck it in there while I got the filling put together.


  • 5 or 6 apples (I used granny smith)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar (I did 1/4 c. white sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar because I ran out of the white sugar)
  • 2 tbsp. AP flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. margarine, cut up

Slice your apples into 1/2 inch slices (the recipe says 1/4 inch slices, but mine all but fell apart after baking for 75 minutes).  Toss with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour into your pie crust, then dot the apples with pieces of margarine.  Then, either by folding the top crust or rolling it onto your rolling pin, put the top crust on your pie.

Now, this is where we practice humility.  This is where we learn that perfection isn’t everything.  Do you hear this?  This is coming from me, little miss perfectionist, OCD, whatever you want to call me.  My crust was far from perfect.  But!  It still tasted great.

Bake your pie in a 350°F oven for 60 – 80 minutes (mine ended up taking about 75 minutes to get the crust browned).

Cool in a windowsill and serve it up with ice cream, whipped cream, or all by itself.


Stuff in jars…

13 Nov

This past week has been something of an emotional roller coaster.

I don’t like roller coasters.

They scare the poops out of me.


I don’t like not being in control.

I like to know what’s coming.

I like being organized.

I like weeks with minimal negative surprises and maximal calm, cool, and collected Amy.

This week was not that week.

This week has consisted of altogether too many mini-crises, too many mega-crises, too many nights crying myself to sleep, too many naps taken for the wrong reasons, too much time spent in the fetal position, and way too many carbs.

But now the crises have been un-crisised, my body has finally un-curled itself, and the fall leaves are freakin’ beautiful.

So let’s make some fall comfort food.  BUT!  Not so many carbs, okay?

Let’s make some one-crust pot pies.

(ps, is this cute?  the whole putting words on pictures thing?  I feel like every other blogger in the world is doing this…)


  • 1 large yam or sweet potato
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 can green peas
  • about 1 c. broccoli
  • 1 c. soy curls, if you want some meatiness
  • 1 package Pepperidge Farms puff pastry
  • a couple tablespoons margarine
  • about 3 c. vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Chop all the veggies to about the same size – I did mine a little smaller because I was baking the pot pies in little jars.  Heat oil in a large pan and cook the yam for a few minutes, until just barely cooked, adding in the onions and carrots at the very end.  Put all the veggies in a bowl, and start the gravy base in the pan.
Melt three or four tablespoons of margarine and about that same amount of flour in a pan, whisking until smooth.  Then add in the stock and whisk until it’s thickened and smooth.  Add the veggies back in and toss to coat.
Spoon the mixture into 1 cup (1/2 pint) jars.  Cut circles out of the pastry with a cookie cutter or glass to fit inside of the jars, and put the circles on top of the veggie mixture.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the puff pastry is cooked through.