pie

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

While I think the best pie is made with fresh apples, I also like making and canning my own apple pie filling. It is a handy way for me to enjoy local apples throughout the year. It is also a whole lot better than any commercial pie filling I have tried. Loaded with plenty of big chunks of apples and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg- I think it the next best thing to fresh apples for baking.

I use my canned filling  to make pies, but I also use it for kolachy, blintzes, cakes and more.

The hard part, for some, is getting a hold of Clear Gel. It is a special type of cornstarch. I buy mine on line, but you can find it in stores where the Amish shop. Clear Gel stays thick, even if it is reheated. Regular cornstarch will not.

Here is the recipe I use. You can tweak the seasonings to suit your own taste, but keep in mind that spices sometimes get stronger when canned, so don’t go too crazy!!

 

Apple Pie Filling

6 qts. apples, sliced and blanched

5 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. Clear Gel- modified cornstarch available on line and in Amish stores

1 T. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

2 1/2 c. cold water

5 c. apple juice

3/4 c. lemon juice

If apples lack tartness use an additional 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Wash, peel and core apples and cut into 1/2 thick slices. Place in water treated with either lemon juice, citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent darkening. Remove from solution and drain well. Blanch in boiling water- 2 quarts at a time- for 1 minute. As you finish each batch place in a bowl and cover to keep warm. In large pot combine sugar, Clear Gel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute. Add drained apples and stir gently to combine. Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving 1 1/2 inches of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process in a boiling water bath- pints or quarts for 25 minutes. After the time is up, turn off canner and let jars sit in water bath for 5 minutes before removing. This will reduce the chance of siphoning.  Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints.

For only 1 quart

3 1/2 c.apples

3/4 plus 2 T. sugar

1/4 c. Clear Gel

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/2 c. cold water

3/4 c. apple juice

2 T. lemon juice

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

While I think the best pie is made with fresh apples, I also like making and canning my own apple pie filling. It is a handy way for me to enjoy local apples throughout the year. It is also a whole lot better than any commercial pie filling I have tried. Loaded with plenty of big chunks of apples and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg- I think it the next best thing to fresh apples for baking.

I use my canned filling  to make pies, but I also use it for kolachy, blintzes, cakes and more.

The hard part, for some, is getting a hold of Clear Gel. It is a special type of cornstarch. I buy mine on line, but you can find it in stores where the Amish shop. Clear Gel stays thick, even if it is reheated. Regular cornstarch will not.

Here is the recipe I use. You can tweak the seasonings to suit your own taste, but keep in mind that spices sometimes get stronger when canned, so don’t go too crazy!!

 

Apple Pie Filling

6 qts. apples, sliced and blanched

5 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. Clear Gel- modified cornstarch available on line and in Amish stores

1 T. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

2 1/2 c. cold water

5 c. apple juice

3/4 c. lemon juice

If apples lack tartness use an additional 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Wash, peel and core apples and cut into 1/2 thick slices. Place in water treated with either lemon juice, citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent darkening. Remove from solution and drain well. Blanch in boiling water- 2 quarts at a time- for 1 minute. As you finish each batch place in a bowl and cover to keep warm. In large pot combine sugar, Clear Gel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute. Add drained apples and stir gently to combine. Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving 1 1/2 inches of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process in a boiling water bath- pints or quarts for 25 minutes. After the time is up, turn off canner and let jars sit in water bath for 5 minutes before removing. This will reduce the chance of siphoning.  Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints.

For only 1 quart

3 1/2 c.apples

3/4 plus 2 T. sugar

1/4 c. Clear Gel

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/2 c. cold water

3/4 c. apple juice

2 T. lemon juice

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

I guess I just have blueberries on my mind. I had quite a few in the freezer and decided to use some to make blueberry jam yesterday. Then, at dinner last night, the topic of pies came up. Something about “Pi” Day. My friend’s response was that ANY day was Pie Day!!   I had some more blueberries in the freezer and decided maybe today was Pie Day after all.

 

Blueberry Pie

Pastry for 2 crust pie- recipe- The crust recipe I used is at the bottom of the page

2 ½ T. cornstarch

1 c. sugar

3 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. butter

 1 T. sugar, for sprinkling

Roll out half of the crust and place in 8 or 9-inch pie pan. You can roll out the top crust ahead of time, or even cut into strips for a lattice top. Cover remaining crust to keep it from drying out. In medium bowl mix cornstarch and sugar. Toss in berries and then sprinkle in the lemon juice. Allow to stand 15 minutes. If berries were frozen be sure they are not clumped together. Spoon mixture into prepared crust and dot with the butter. Top with the second crust or place strips on in a lattice design. If using a whole crust cut in decorative slits for ventilation. I used a tiny heart-shaped cutter for my pie. Moisten then crimp edges and shape decoratively or use a fork to seal. Place pie in lower half of hot oven. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 40-50 minutes or until crust is brown and juices begin to bubble through the slits. Cool a little before serving.

 

Flaky Pie Crust

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

3/4 c. shortening, chilled – you can use coconut oil, butter or lard

1 T. cider vinegar

4-5 T. cold water

Combine flour and salt and cut in shortening. Toss in vinegar and water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together. Use a fork to toss the ingredients together and as soon as the mixture holds together stop adding water. Makes 2. Chill well before using

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

When I was a kid there was a local restaurant known for its strawberry pie. It became a favorite of mine back then and strawberry pie is still a favorite. It wouldn’t be June if I didn’t make at least one. A nice benefit over most other pies is that only the crust has to be baked- that takes just a few minutes- so you also don’t need the oven on for very long and the house stays cooler. I used a homemade crust, but use store bought or whatever crust you like best.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 9-inch pie crust, baked and cooled -recipe follows
1 qt strawberries (1¼ lbs), hulled
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ c. water
1 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese
Whipped cream, optional

Select about 25-30 berries to be placed in pie crust, large side down and set aside. Puree or crush remaining berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and gets clear. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside. Place cream cheese in a small bowl and mash with about a tablespoonful of the puree. Spread on the crust and arrange the reserved berries on the crust pointy side up. Put the largest berry in the middle and arrange the rest around it decoratively. Spoon the puree over the berries and allow the pie to cool down a little before putting in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Note: other berries can also be used including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a combination. This recipe can also be used as a filling for tarts and tartlets.

Half and Half Dough*

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.
¼ c. butter, room temp
½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard instead
¼ c. sugar
½ t. salt
2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour
1/8 t. baking powder
¼ c. milk
1 t. lemon juice
Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts.

* this recipe makes 2 crusts- which makes me think you should just make 2 pies. If you don’t want to do that- the other half of the dough will freeze well for a few months. Seriously though, just make 2 pies!!!

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

A friend of mine gave me this recipe years ago. I try to make it at least a couple of times a year. Confession time- I actually have had a piece for breakfast. Don’t judge me until you try it. Hey, it is a vegetable.

Sweet Potato Pie

½ c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

½ t. allspice

½ t. salt

¼ t. cloves

1 ½ c. cooked, mashed sweet potato

2 eggs, beaten

1 c. milk or almond milk

2 T. melted butter or 2 T. olive oil

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Combine sugar with seasonings. Stir in remaining ingredients and combine until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until filling is set.

Flaky Pie Crust

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

3/4 c. shortening, chilled

1 T. cider vinegar

4-5 T. cold water

Combine flour and salt and cut in shortening. Toss in vinegar and water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together. Use a fork to toss the ingredients together and as soon as the mixture holds together stop adding water. Makes 2. Chill well before using.

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