24 January 2011

Family recipe Monday: Happy (day after) National Pie Day

Prairie dog babies out for a nibble. Most interesting squirrels ever.

I knew that there was a National Pi Day (March 14), but not a National Pie Day. No one ever clues me in on these worthwhile holidays. I almost missed National Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21. And what a tragedy THAT would have been. Not so much for the city squirrels that the cats are convinced they could take down if I'd only let them out, but for the prairie dogs and ground squirrels out here that, like 'em or not, are the architects of the prairie. Lose a prairie dog town, lose a microcosm ecosystem. I am avidly following a story about prairie dog communications. It seems that they are far more sophisticated in their calls than we suspected.

But back to pies. Knowing that it was National Pie Day, I did my patriotic duty and made a buttermilk pie that set up beautifully (unlike my first attempt, in which the custard refused to set up and required a second baking. Still have no idea what happened there). This one behaved as ordered.

Since that recipe has already been featured here, try a couple of others. National Pie Day lasts all week. Honest.

If you have a ready source of fresh or frozen cherries, by all means substitute those for the canned ones; ditto for the blueberries.

Cherry pie

9” unbaked pie shell
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
4 3-oz pkg. soft cream cheese
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425* F. Prepare pie shell. Spread half of cherry filling in bottom. Bake shell 15 minutes, or just until crust is golden. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350* F. In small bowl, beat cheese with sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over hot cherry pie filling and bake 25 minutes. (Filling will be slightly soft in center.) Cool completely on wire rack. To serve spoon sour cream around edge of pie. Fill center with remaining cherry pie filling. Blueberry pie filling can be substituted

This is a Pennsylvania classic.
Apple dumplings

6 large baking apples
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 T butter or margarine
¾ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 T butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Make pastry first. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in shortening until like coarse cornmeal. Moisten with milk, stirring with fork as little as possible. Roll into a rectangular sheet about ¼“ thick. Cut into 6 squares. Peel and core apples and place one on each square. Mix ¼ cup of sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon. Fill center of apples. Use more sugar to fill centers if necessary. Make a syrup by bringing to a boil ¾ cup water, ¾ cup sugar, 2 T lemon juice and 2 T butter. Roll dough around apples and fasten by moistening edges and pinching them together. Place in large shallow pan. Pour syrup over dumplings. Bake at 450o for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* and bake for 30 minutes.
--Dolly Shaffner Hess

Happy Monday. I don't think it's National Anything Day, but you never know....

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