Tag Archive | pies

Cookie Hand Pies with Cornaby’s Jams

Lately I’ve been experimenting with things I can do with Cornaby’s newest gourmet jams. I love these jams, especially the apple pie and the cherry pie. They are delicious on toasts and in crepes, but I’ve wondered what else I could do with them. When I made some sugar cookies for Valentines, inspiration struck!

These Cookie Hand Pies are similar to thumbprint cookies but on a larger scale. They consist of two layers of sugar cookie dough, with a hole punched in the top layer which is then filled with Cornaby’s Jams. Now, I know one could argue that any jam would do for this, but it’s really not true. Cornaby’s Jams are unique in their formulation in that they include not only pectin, but heat stable starch. This means that unlike most jams Cornaby’s Jams don’t completely liquefy when they’re cooked. So in cookies and stuffed breads and other baked applications the jam stays put! And they’re delicious too!

Cookie Hand Pies with Cornaby’s Jams

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups flour (sifted)

Cream sugar, shortening and eggs and beat well. Blend in milk, Ultra Gel, vanilla and lemon extract. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter, stirring gently to avoid over beating. Add additional flour if needed to form a very soft dough. Roll 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with sugar and cut sets of circles, one bottom piece and one top piece with a shape cut out of it to make space for the jam. Align both layers of the cookie pie and press gently to seal. Fill the center with Cornaby’s Jams (My favorite for this is the blackberry raspberry, cherry pie or apple pie).

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until cookies are golden brown and set. Move to a cooling rack to cool fully. If you like you can drizzle with a light glaze or buttercream icing!

Cut shapes in an oval to create hand pies for Easter! St. Patricks? No problem, just cut shamrocks. These cookie pies work for any holiday and are fun to make with the kids.

 

Bottled Cherry Pie Filling with Thick Gel

Technically cherry season is past, since most cherries including pie cherries come on earlier in the year. However, they’re not hard to find frozen. You can even visit places like the Rowleys Red Barn and get them frozen in bulk, so it’s not too late to can cherry pie filling! Especially with the holidays around the corner (Pies, cakes, cookies!) having beautiful bottles of pie filling on hand is a very good thing.

Our recipe for pie filling is a recipe which is thickened before it goes into the bottle, which raises a lot of concerns for some people. It is true that you should NOT use thickeners such as flour or traditional corn starch to thicken product which will be canned. These thickeners do not thicken evenly or hold up to the temperatures of canning. However products such as Thick Gel are approved for home canning as tested by the Utah State Extension service and the labs at Cornabys.

I use tart pie cherries for this recipe, though you could use pitted bing cherries or a combination of sweet and pie cherries. It’s all down to what you like. And while we give you measurements for both Thick Gel and Ultra Gel I have to admit that I like Thick Gel the most for this use, especially in this large recipe. Thick Gel thickens a little more evenly and has a smoother finish. Price per ounce Thick Gel is also a little less expensive. As a reminder Thick Gel has to be heated to thicken but in all of our pie filling recipes this happens anyway, so it’s not an issue.

pie-filling

Bottled Cherry Pie Filling with Thick Gel

 Utah State University Extension

6 quarts fresh or thawed sour cherries

7 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups Thick Gel (2-2 1/2 cups Ultra Gel)

9 1/3 cups water or juice from cherries

2 teaspoons almond extract (opt.)

1/2 cup bottled lemon juice – Do NOT use fresh lemon juice. Bottle juice is mixed to get a specific repeatable pH which cannot be guaranteed with fresh.

2 teaspoons red food coloring (opt.)

Rinse and pit fresh cherries or thaw frozen cherries.  Combine sugar and Thick Gel in large kettle with water or juice from cherries.  If desired, add almond extract and food coloring.  Stir mixture and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.  Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Fold in cherries and fill jars with mixture, leaving 1-1 1/2″ headspace.  Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 30 minutes (sea level). Increase processing time for by 5 minutes for elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and ten minutes for elevations from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.

Tips for Cream Pies and Fabulous Meringue

Cream piesWith Thanksgiving around the corner I’ve been getting a lot of questions about pies. Since the pies are my favorite part of the holiday, and usually the one I’m in charge of, I do have some tricks of the trade to pass along. So pull out a chair and come into my parlor.

Five Tips for Amazing Cream Pies

1: Use a cooked custard for your filling. Whether you use the recipes from Cornabys (And we have some great ones), or you love your Jello, go with the cooked versions. The benefits of the cooked versions are two fold. Part the first, the cooked custard sets more firmly and will be much easier to slice without making a huge mess. Part the second the lactose (milk sugar) in the dairy when cooked caramelizes and tastes fantastic, so you’ll get a much richer flavor from the cooked versions than the instant ones.

2: If you don’t use a cooked custard make sure to decrease the amount of liquid going into your instant pie filling so the starches can give you a more stable set.

3: Watch your heat! When cooking a pudding or custard there is the vast temptation to get the job done and kick the heat to high. Dairy does not like heat and in particular it doesn’t like to boil. When you boil your puddings you end up with scorching and a curdled mess. So cook your fillings on medium heat. It takes longer, but it gives you a better result.

4: Do not add flavorings or fruit to the custard until it has cooled for at least 10 minutes (the exception to this is cocoa powder which in a homemade custard you’ll add at the beginning and cook the product with the cocoa in it). Many of the extracts we use in cooking have an alcohol or oil base and if the custard is still too hot that will boil off immediately and many of those flavors will be lost. As well fruit can partially cook and brown and cookies will go soggy. So be patient.

5: Wait to top with whipping cream until your pies are completely cool. If they’re still warm they’ll liquify the cream and that is not a happy thing. As well…do your wonderful pies the justice of really good whipping cream. Many non dairy creamers are stable, but not particularly tasty or good for you. So look for a good real cream whipping cream. If you’re worried about your cream falling, just add 1 tsp of Ultra Gel per pint of cream when you’re whipping it and watch the magic. 🙂

Now, speaking of toppings, one of the toppings that many people like but struggle with is the meringue. Meringue is usually a combination of egg whites and sugar which has been whipped and then cooked just long enough to get a good set and a crispy exterior. Some recipes include a little cream of tartar to help stabilize the whip. Given all of that this is still a topping that many people struggle with because it can weep and break. So there are a few things I can suggest to keep this topping fantastic.

1: Always make sure your meringue comes all the way to the edge of the pie. If it’s just sitting in the center as it cooks the sugar around the edges will cause the meringue to melt and ooze. As long as you get the meringue to the crust or edge of the pie plate it will have something to bind to that isn’t sugary and won’t be as prone to break down.

2: Add a little Ultra Gel to your recipe (about 1 tsp per egg white). Add the Ultra Gel early on when you are first bringing your meringue to a foam and it will help to hold the moisture in the meringue and keep it from breaking both upon the first serving and even into the next day.

Here is our favorite recipe for meringue. We’d love to see yours!

Ultra Gel Meringue

3 egg whites
3 tsp Ultra Gel
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

In large bowl, beat egg whites Ultra Gel and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually, 1 Tbsp at a time, add sugar, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next Tbsp. Beat to stiff peaks. Spread over prepared pie and bake at 350 until top is just browned. Enjoy!