Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

I’ve set out on the very serious task of brainstorming ALL of the Thanksgiving pies.  Good reason.  I’m preparing the welcome most ALL of my family to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  There will be no turkey in my oven.  There will be no stuffing.  Green beans and cranberry sauce are a major maybe.

There will be a tremendous amount of gumbo and an equally tremendous amount of pie, Apple Cranberry among them.

In addition to a bounty of gumbo and pie, I’m also prepared for a week full of (ohhh gosh) family fun with a detailed week-long itinerary, a bull horn, a few bottles of bourbon, and a whistle.  I mean… right?

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Send help.

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Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch

5 Tips To The Best Pie Crust / joythebaker

Chocolate Pecan Derby Pie

You know what breaks my heart?  Store-bough pie crust.  It’s a tragedy.  It’s a crime against good pie.  It’s illegal in at least eight states.  It’s not cool and I just can’t let you do it to yourself.  See, store-bought pie crust is usually made up of unpronounceable fats that can’t possibly taste good.  What does taste good?  Butter in pie crust.  Two syllables.  Approachable and delicious.

Let’s talk about how to make the best pie crust from scratch.  All it takes is a bit of confidence, a good amount of cold butter, tenacity, and a love of pie.

A pastry teacher once told me that ingredients can smell your fear.  It’s true.  Butter can sense your hesitation.  With these tips, I hope you’re inspired to get in the kitchen this holiday season and make a pie.  You can totally do it.  I’m a believer… and also, I’ll know if you buy a store-bought crust.   I have a sense about these things.

Here’s the lowdown on pie crust.

•  Flour, sugar, and salt are whisked together.

•  Cold, cubed butter is added and broken down into the dry ingredients.

•  Buttermilk is stirred in creating a shaggy but moist-ish dough.

•  With a wink and a prayer, dough is kneaded together, left to rest in the refrigerator, then rolled out into a buttery, sturdy, soon-to-be-flakey dough.

You can do it, here’s some extra know-how:

1.  The first rule of successful pie crust:  Keep your butter cold!

See, there’s a reason that our fat starts cold and needs to stay cold before the pie crust hits the oven.  Butter is made up of milk solids and water.  When cold butter hits a hot oven, the water in the butter evaporates quickly, helping to create a flavorful and flakey crust.  When warm, soft butter goes into a hot oven, the butter weeps in the crust before it evaporates.  No one wants a weepy butter crust.

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Posted in Pie

Apricot Buttermilk Pie

Apricot and Buttermilk Pie

Apricot and Buttermilk Pie

It would probably be best to enjoy this sweet Apricot Buttermilk Pie with a big floppy hat, a Scarlett O’Hara inspired dress, some sort of lavish front porch, a glass of iced tea, and a slow-drawl Southern accent.  If you don’t have those things… not to worry.  This pie, with all of its charm and Southern roots, will welcome you all the same.  Iced tea is encouraged… a hat, too.

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Buttermilk Pie is a simple custard pie made of eggs, melted butter and buttermilk.  In this variation we’re adding dried apricots and bourbon for a bit of summer sweetness and boozy appeal.  I like this pie served chilled to really set the custard base, and served with a tart apricot sour cream spread to balance the sweetness of the pie.  It’s a beauty!

Apricot Buttermilk Pie

A buttermilk pie is so much more than buttermilk.

Buttermilk gets all of the credit, but really… eggs, brown butter, and sugar do the heavy lifting.  Bourbon, lemon, and vanilla play important supporting rolls.  Flour for thickening.  Buttermilk to stop the show and take all of the glory.

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Strawberry Raspberry Crostata

strawberry raspberry crostata

strawberry raspberry crostata

I’m on  a mission to make new friends.  I’m in a new city, I don’t know many people, and I work from home on the Internet…. so, I’m really good friends with my cat, but at some point that’s just going to get weird.

Meeting new friends in my 30’s, outside of the context of work relationships and school relationships has been interesting.  By interesting I mean, um… how do I do this!?  It seems that calling people, making plans, not flaking on plans, and making eye contact is a good start because I’m slowing amassing a group of awesome ladies in this new city.  Slowly but surely.

Strawberry Raspberry Crostat

A few weeks before I moved to New Orleans from Los Angeles I received an email from Anna of The Yellow Table.  She was in the midst of planning her cross-country dinner party road trip to support her upcoming cookbook, and wanted to host  dinner in my New Orleans home… that I didn’t even live in yet.  I said SURE because it seems like once you start making crazy moves across the country, crazy dinner parties make total sense.

The days run away, as they do… and before I knew it, Anna was in town with bags of groceries to cook in my New Orleans kitchen.  Around the table we gathered a group of total strangers/new friends:  Juley, Summer, Hannah, Rebecca, Anna, and Elise.

We laughed, talked in the imagined voices of our pets, and shared the most lovely dinner of shrimp and couscous, watermelon and feta.

I made this Strawberry Raspberry Crostata for dessert because making friends out of strangers often involves some sort of berry and fruit.  Try it.  Totally works.

Strawberry Raspberry Crostata

Recipes that start with this sort of beauty hardly seem fair.  Summer is such a show-off.

Fresh strawberries are rinsed and sliced thick.  Fresh raspberries are rinsed and snacked on before adding by the handful to the strawberry bowl.

We’re also going to need some sugar, cornstarch for thickening, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of Grand Marnier because we’re fancy.

I like how this feels.

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Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate

bourbon pecan pie

bourbon pecan pie with dark chocolate

I have two superhero skills.  Two!  So good, really… that I’m tempted to call them skillzzzz.

My two superhero skills are: catching things that are falling (anything really, it’s cat-like agility) and making PIES!  Sometimes you’re just endowed with talents beyond your ability to learn them.  That last sentence I totally made up and it can’t possible be true.  Suffice it to say, I can catch a falling wine glass without spilling a drop, and I can whip up a rich chocolate pecan pie in the blink of an eye.  Do not, however, throw a baseball my way (I can’t catch that!!!) or ask me to make you croissants (not in my superhero wheelhouse!!!).

Chocolate Pecan Derby Pie

What’s your superhero skill?  If your answer is ‘long division’, I’m super impressed.  Maybe your answer is ‘dish washing like a ninja’, in which case please come over, flex your skills and eat this pie.

bourbon pecan pie

Maybe your superhero skill is ‘not eating all the cookie dough before it’s baked’.  That really would be something.

Maybe your superhero skill can be pie baking.  I really think it should be.  It’s just butter+flour, pecans+eggs.  Rub it together.  Whisk it up.  Be a pie ninja.  It’s all so very possible.

Let’s make this Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate.  We’re showing off for the Kentucky Derby.  Flexin’ because we can.

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Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

double crust chicken pot pie 1

double crust chicken pot pie 1

I have my routines.

I get my oil changed every three months.  I get my hair cut every eight weeks.  I feed my cat every day at 5pm.  I drag my butt to bed every night at midnight.  Routines.  Structure.  It all feels good… like strapping on a bra in the morning.  I know I’m good to go.  (Totally an analogy I should have kept to myself…)

Also in the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this PIE.  Every three years I make this Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.  Only every three years.

Every three years I over-indulge in this pie and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more present/pressing/monthly routine…. then I remember all of the onion chopping and carrot slicing and roux making.  It’s a process. Worthy, still… but it remains my every three years pie for all of it’s butter cutting and onion chopping.  I feel like I savor it more with the years in between.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Can I just say, after slicing my way through most of an onion, I get to the butt end of the onion and I’m like… I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! WHY ARE WE EVEN DOING THIS!? I begin to question everything.  It’s a really weird place to start a cooking endeavor, but it happens to me every time.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Clearly I was meant to work with pastry… not onions.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

This pie is rich, creamy, full of Spring vegetables, and tender chicken.  The crust is buttery, flakey, and otherwise perfect.

Invite a friend.  Share the chopping duties.  There’s no reason to freak out about the onion alone.  This pie is worth every slice and dice!

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Lemon Raspberry Pie Crust Hearts

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lemon raspberry pie crust hearts

In my house as a kid, where there was pie, there were cookies.  It was a really fortunate, really delicious rule.

My dad would make a pie crust from scratch, roll it out just so, drape it into a pie plate, and trim the edges to help the pie crust fit perfectly.   My sister and I would sit around dad’s work table just itchin’ to snack on the raw pie crust scraps.

The raw pie dough was dough-y, salty, and buttery.  Good… definitely good, but just a bit bland.

We knew that if we just waited a few minutes longer, dad’s pie crust scraps would be sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and baked to a golden crisp. Pie scrap cookies!  Just like that.  Pie and cookies.  That’s real love.  Waste not a bit of butter.

I turned my dad’s pie crust cookies into something heart-shaped and grand.  Skip the actual pie and make pie-like cookies.  Heart-shaped for love.

lemon raspberry pie crust hearts

This is our ingredient list!

Buttermilk Pie Crust- lots of butter, chilled, floured, and easy to roll.

Raspberries- frozen and thawed since they’re out of season these days.  Drained, mostly… then drained again.

Sugar for sweets.  Cornstarch of thickening.

Spices- cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and lemon zest… which isn’t a spice, but it’s cool.

Lemon Juice- just a squeeze.

Egg- for browning.

Turbinado Sugar- for extra credit.

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Salty Honey Pie

salty honey pie

Salty Honey Pie

Happy New Year my friends!  It’s just about time to tie a pretty ribbon on this year.  A wrap.

But… not before we make a Honey Pie.  It’s been a sweet year.  I mean that most literally.  It feels like we should wrap the year up with pie, because I’m pretty sure my heart is part muscle and part pie.  I’m also fairly certain that honey runs through my veins.  And so here we are… with Vanilla Sea Salt in tow.  

Let’s make a pie and call it a year… almost almost.

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Dad’s Sweet Potato Pie

Dad's Sweet Potato Pie

Dad's Perfect Sweet Potato Pie

It’s not November.  It’s not the holiday season.  It’s not Fall.  It’s not anything at all until I get my hands on this pie.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I can usually be found standing in front of the open refrigerator eating slices of this pie like cold pizza.

This is my Dad’s famous (because I say so) Sweet Potato Pie recipe.  I’ve written about this recipe here before… heck, I’ve even written about it in my cookbook.  Consider this a can’t stop/won’t stop situation.  It’s just so good/too good/ just right/ you’ve gotta try this!

Dad's Perfect Sweet Potato Pie

Here’s what I’m thinking….

Thanksgiving is coming up.  Pumpkin pie yadda yadda yadda… forget it!

Try a Sweet Potato Pie!  It’s bright, beautifully spiced, and it will totally give you street-cred.

And we all know we bake mostly for the street-cred.  You’re welcome.

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Double Crust Cherry Pie

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Whoa, you guys.  Everyone is talking about the last few days of summer.  Everyone is squeezing in their last beach days and weekend vacations in the sun.  No no.  Please no.  I’m just not ready to say goodbye yet.

In honor of summer.  In honor of the fact that I’m not ready to say goodbye, I’ve made a homemade, double-crusted, buttermilk-having, almond-hinted CHERRY PIE.  It’s the epitome of summer.  It’s me, kicking and screaming, and holding on for dear life.

Bright side:  I can eat all the cherry pie I want while daydreaming about deep green nail polish, ruby red lip stains, and the ridiculously huge scarves I’m going to wear this Fall.  Other bright side:  peace out jean shorts!

I paired up with Nordstrom Beauty Spot to bring you this pie, and a few other beauty inspired recipes (including the Dark and Stormy cocktail I currently can’t get enough of).  Beauty picks, style tips, and all sorts of sweet goodness (no jean shorts, you’re welcome).

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Strawberry Raspberry Crisp

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My summer love language is pink and fruity.  All I want to do this weekend is put Van Morrison in my headphones, tool down the bike path at the beach, people-watch, seagull-watch, and express my affections in strawberries and raspberries.

 Good, right?  What more do we really need?  (If your answer to that rhetorical question was: CRISP OAT TOPPING!!!… then you’ve totally come to the right place.)

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We don’t even need a bowl for our mellow summer baking.  This crisp topping can come together on a clean counter or a plain ol’ baking sheet.

Pile together flour, oats, sugar, and spice and work in cold butter and walnuts.

This is totally relaxed summer baking.  Embrace it!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

I’m currently working on the pie chapter for my new cookbook… the new book that doesn’t yet have a name, but does have an awesome (and ever evolving) BRUNCH CHAPTER, and should be in your hot little hands in Fall 2014.  Now though… now, I’m working on the pie chapter.  It’s a humdinger.  It’s a doozie.

 A lot of words go into the making of a pie.  A lot of butter goes into the making of a pie.  A lot of proportions, and cream, and cornstarch, and hope, and confidence, and trust, and joy.  Sometimes tears.

If you do it right, you can taste it all.

It’s hard to find the words to express the chaos and triumph of pie baking.  It’s also hard to find the words to express the chaos and triumph of writing a book.

Whoa.  Wait.  Did I just have a breakthrough?

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

While I gather my thoughts, gather my butter, gather my pie recipes and try to get everything sorted… I’m realizing that some recipes were just too good to keep from you for so long.  This is that.

I hope you make a pie this weekend.  I also hope the pie plate is scraped clean come Sunday night.

I love you, it’s true.

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Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie

ham and cheese puff pastry pie

I’ve got New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day duties to tend to.  By duties, I mean that people will be coming to my house expecting to eat and drink delicious things, and… I have a reputation to maintain.  This holiday is about celebrating!  It’s about remembrance and hope, love and champagne.  It’s not about being the hostess with the mostess, as much as it’s about being the hostess with the most streamers and bubbly.

Sidenote:  I wish I could teach my cat to do something useful… like, wash champagne flutes.

In the absence of a dishwashing cat, I’m keeping things simple and festive for the holiday.  Simple yet totally impressive.

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Puff pastry is the key to all things simple and impressive.  Fancy mustard, ham, and good cheese are just a bonus.

Delicious bonus.
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Honey Almond Butter Chocolate Tart

honey almond butter and chocolate tart

It’s totally that time of year.  Time to button up my blouse, dig out my cranberry red lipstick, and invite people over for dinner.  My usual dinner of scrambled eggs and popcorn isn’t going to cut it.  It’s the holidays and people need to be, you know… impressed!  No pressure or anything.  Seriously, no presh.

Except, wait… why am I still feeling the pressure?  The holiday season is awesome and just a bit overwhelming/intimidating/oh goodness gracious/what dessert am I going to make/ what shoes am I going to wear.  I get it.  I really do.  I am here (with my aggressively colored blouse on) to help.

I got a dinner party plan, and I partnered with the Almond Board of California to bring my plan to life.  This holiday dinner planning is serious business.  There is focaccia to make, Brussels sprouts to roast, and pork loins to roll.  There’s also some fun and short  videos to inspire you each step of the way!

Joy the Baker holiday guide

There’s also this clever holiday guide with every recipe from Almond Roasted Focaccia Bread with Grapes and Rosemary to Cherry Almond and Wild Rice Stuffed Pork Loin.  Yea… I kinda pulled out all the stops (and all the almonds).

honey almond butter and chocolate tart

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Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

creamy pumpkin pie bars

Every once in a while, a recipe deserves a re-do.  I originally posted this recipe in the Fall of 2008, just a few months into the life of my blog.  I was trying to figure out my photography style.  I was trying to figure out what  a dang blog was.  I was trying to find my voice on the internet.  I was trying my hardest not to be a hot-mess.

creamy pumpkin pie bars

I decided that this dish is just too good to suffer from hot-mess-ed-ness.  Hot-mess-ed-ness is a real word (mostly because it’s a real thing that happens).  The recipe has a mostly infallible list of ingredients that includes pumpkin and cream cheese.  These are two great ingredients that in combination are utterly lovely and you know… festive!  It has taken me almost four years to realize that these bars was missing a certain sort of… greatness.  I’ve figured it out.  As is the case in improving most things in life.. we’re going to need more crust.  More dang crust!

Let’s do!

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Fig, Apricot & Mascarpone Tart

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In general.  In life.  If you ask me to be somewhere… I’m either 10 minutes early or 15 minutes late.  If I’m 10 minutes early, I surely have arrived having forgotten both lip gloss and deodorant.  If I’m 15 minutes late, at least I smell fresh while I apologize for disrespecting your time.  I can’t seem to figure out how to be on time.  It’s a terrible quality. I know… ugh.  I have no excuse.  I know.

With this tart… praise God… for once in my life I was right on time.  This darling is the perfect marriage of fresh figs and summer apricots.  It’s a mash of the current season.  It feels indulgent and expensive. Aaaannndd it’s dang timely! It makes me feel like the wonderfully flawed and tardy adult that I really am.

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Gluten-Free Strawberry Ginger Pie

gluten-free strawberry ginger pie!

This pie was made on one of those dusty summer days.

The kind of day where you wake up sleeping crazy diagonal in your bed with three pillows and a cat on your head… when the snooze button is more essential than luxurious.

The kind of day that’s cloudy cold… making you think that summer might be in its early farewells.  The kind of day that requires a second and a half cup of coffee, a scarf until noon, and a phone call with your sister.  The kind of day that feels somehow both unexpected and tender, in between sleep and dreams.

This pie was made on the kind of day that required a jolt of sunshine flavors and warm spices.  This pie tastes exactly like what it feels like to hear someone you love call your name.  That… with a touch of ginger.

gluten-free strawberry ginger pie!

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Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits

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I know what you’re thinking.  You really don’t even have to say it.  I put the words ‘tomato’ and ‘cobbler’ in the same recipe title.  Clearly something has gone wrong here.  How can it be cobbler without peaches, blueberries, strawberries… or maybe even some sort of salty bacon topping?  How can it be cobbler without crunchy oats and cinnamon?

Trust me… I definitely had my reservations when it came to this recipe.  I like tomatoes…. but how much do I reeaallly like tomatoes.  If I pick around all the big tomato chunks in my dad’s spaghetti sauce… does that mean this dish is going to stress me out?  Wait.  There are biscuits involved.  Do biscuits rescue any dish?  Yes.  They do.  … it’s go-time.

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These tomatoes are a big deal.  They’re juicy and sweet.  They’re amazing plain or roasted.  They’re just begging to be fussed over.  Really… they need no biscuit salvation.  They’re divine on their own.

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Peach Blueberry Pie

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Before you roll your eyes, and dismiss this dessert as something that’s too complicated for you… something that’s out of your skill set… something that you simply don’t have the time or energy for… please.  Just give me a minute.

Everyone should know how to make a pie.

If you know how to make pie, you know how to make love.

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What do you do for a living?  Are you an accountant?  How do you do that?  I can barely count.  Are you a barista?  A lawyer?  A super mom?  A welder?  A hat maker?  Awesome.

I want you to know how to make a pie.  It’s really important to me.  Can we get on this together?

There are things you should know before we start.

Making pie is not necessarily easy.  Pie is rarely perfect.  Making pie might be a little frustrating.

Wait… who was that person that said the best things in the world are also the easiest?  No one.  People don’t say that… because it’s totally not true.

Am I doing a good job with this pep talk?  Do I need to yell?

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Peach Cobbler for One (or two if you’re nice)

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Update!  Check out the latest Joy the Baker Podcast!  Episode 13 is LIVE!

Things I Say Too Often:

- Duh.  Totes.

- How you livin’?

- Why is this orange juice making me more thirsty!?

- Shut it.

- Huh?

- Dddrrrriiiiiiiiivvveeeeee (faster please)!

- Small coffee.  Room for cream, please.

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This I Don’t Say Often Enough:

- Hey Mom.  Thanks for birthing and raising me.  That couldn’t have been easy.  You did a great job.

- Hey Dad.  Thanks for working so hard to 35 years to support your family.  I appreciate you so much.

- Oh geez.  Was I being passive aggressive just then?  I’m sorry.  I understand that that’s totally annoying.  I’ll try to be aggressive aggressive next time.

- Thank you for reading my blog.  I appreciate you so much.

-  I understand where you’re coming from.

- I love you.  From on the inside.  It’s major.

- More pie, please.

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