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Bring On The Holidays! (Fruit Pies 101)

Sorry for the lack of fanfare as we ushered in the holiday season and said farewell to our Healthy Eating Month!  I didn’t intend to give what I’m sure was a tough month for all of us such an anti-climatic ending.  Let me take this moment to offer you a cyber-high-five if you took on a Clean Eating Challenge along with me for the past 30 days!  I, for one, felt awesomely proud of myself as we headed off to Missouri for Thanksgiving, and not the least bit guilty as I indulged in all the delicious celebratory foods.

Foods such as pie!

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Pop Quiz: Do you know how to make your own fruit pie filling?  Or do you use the goopy canned stuff that’s about 70% goo and 30% fruit?

I was a goopy can user myself til about a year ago.  At that time, I stumbled upon a recipe for pie filling that has taken my life by storm!  I use it all the time now and I love it!  I shared it with you last summer when I made Mini-Pies in Mason Jars (which happens to be the most popular post on this blog.  People are apparently really crazy about desserts in mason jars.)  But if you read that post, you probably picked up on my strong hints that mason jar pies are a LOT of trouble.  I highly recommend scrapping the mason jar idea and trying out a traditional pie.

For Thanksgiving this year, I chose to make a lattice top strawberry pie.  (Amaaaaazing!  You won’t know what hit ya or why you never ate strawberry pie before this.)

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And the holiday classic: Granny Smith apple pie.  (This filling is very lightly spiced… allowing the true apple flavor to shine through.)

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I’m including both filling recipes for you below, as well as a link to my favorite pie crust recipe (courtesy of Alton Brown.)  I highly recommend making your own crust, by the way.  The pre-made crusts you find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store will do in a pinch, but they are noticeably inferior in taste.

Enjoy!  And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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Home-made Strawberry Pie Filling

3 1/2 Cups strawberries (fresh or frozen), quartered or halved if small

1 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup water

3 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 small pinch salt

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the fruit with the sugar, water, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Stir constantly over medium high heat til thick (about 10 minutes, but mixture will thicken suddenly so do not leave it unattended.)  Stop when filling reaches your desired consistency.

Remove from heat and add the butter, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Allow to cool completely before pouring into an unbaked pie shell.

Feel free to spoon out some of the excess “goo” if you want a less runny finished pie.

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Homemade Apple Pie Filling

6 or 7 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into flat slices about 1/4 in. thick

1 Cup granulated sugar

1 Cup water

1/3 Cup orange juice

3 level Tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. both nutmeg and ginger

1 small pinch ground cloves

1 small pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the fruit with the sugar, water, juice, cornstarch, salt, and spices in a medium saucepan.  Stir constantly over medium high heat til thick (about 10 minutes, but mixture will thicken suddenly so do not leave it unattended.)  Stop when filling reaches your desired consistency.

Remove from heat and add the butter, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Allow to cool completely before pouring into an unbaked pie shell.

Feel free to spoon out some of the excess “goo” if you want a less runny finished pie.

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Baking Directions:

For both types of pie, preheat oven to 375.

Brush the top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.  (I like to use sanding sugar!)

Baked uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 325 and bake another 20-25 minutes (covering with foil during the last 10-15 minutes if crust is browning too quickly on top.)

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Carissa’s Favorite Pie Crust

Click Here for Alton Brown’s pie crust!  (This link even contains a video tutorial for those of you who are a bit intimidated by the process of making a pie crust.  Too cool!)  Note that Alton’s recipe is only enough for a single crust pie, so if you want a top crust as well you’ll need to double the recipe and skip the part where you pre-bake the bottom crust.  Another note: I substitute Crisco for the lard.  You are welcome to use either.

6 Responses so far.

  1. John Haman says:

    It’s all about the enamel cast iron!

  2. […] or your boss and don’t have a ton of money to spare.  A homemade loaf of banana bread, a fresh strawberry pie, or a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies will NEVER […]

  3. […] pie filling will work with any fruit you want to use.  And it’s great because there aren’t a lot of spices that mask the natural fruit […]

  4. Donna Kelso says:

    Would I need to peel the apples. I am using some small tart green apples from my moms trees on her farm. The skins are really thin. would they be ok if I just cored chopped and then canned? Thank you for your reply