Blueberry Maple Waffle Pie

glass-case-emotion-anchorman

Yeah, that’s a pretty accurate descriptor.

A few weeks ago, I went with the Boy on vacation to Milwaukee to meet his friends and family, eat a ridiculous amount of tasty food, and listen to some fantastic live music. It was wonderful and I wrote about it here. Since then, life has gotten a bit more hectic: tires blowing out on the highway, family members needing surgery to repair injuries (so thankful for skilled doctors!), and the beginning of the back-to-school nightmares. There’s a lot to do and not much time left to do it. So what do I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed?

Yeah. I bake. And this time, it was a pie.

Baking doesn’t make my glass case of emotions any easier to be in, but at least it all smells good.

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I normally don’t use pre-made things when I bake because I’m stubborn and a bit of a snob, but when I bought these cookies I immediately knew they’d be fantastic in a crust (they’re also equally amazing when dipped into chocolate milk and eaten while binge-watching Netflix). Eat one or four for quality control, then put the rest into a food processor. Pulse until you’ve got finely-ground cookies.

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I wrote that you want 2 cups of flour but really, you just want about 3 cups of dry ingredients (flour + ground cookies) in all. I poured the cookie pieces (grounds? puree? I’m not sure what to call them…) into the bottom of my 4-cup measuring cup and added about 2 cups of flour so that I had about 3 cups of dry ingredients. Mix well.

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This dough is STICKY, especially since you add 1 tbsp of pure maple syrup into the crust (and even more so if you spill the bottle of maple syrup on your counter like I did). I normally refrigerate my crusts for about an hour and then roll them out, but with this one I just greased up my pan and pressed it in (I used a springform pan but seriously, you can use pretty much whatever you’d like, pan-wise). Once your dough is spread across the bottom of your pan, pour that last tbsp of maple syrup in and brush it to coat the top of the crust with golden deliciousness.

Once you’re done with your crust, work on the filling. You’ll need 1 pint of blueberries pureed and put into the pot, along with the sugar, maple syrup, cornstarch, gelatin, and salt. Mix it really well to make sure there’s no clumps of cornstarch (hint: use a whisk!) and bring to a boil over medium heat.

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You have to stir basically the entire time or you’re going to have burned blueberry goop all over your pan. No bueno.

Let the mixture boil about 2-3 minutes. You’ll notice that it’s a much darker color than it was before and that it’s far more sticky.

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Mmm…

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Pour mixture over the remaining blueberries and then stir with a rubber spatula, trying to cover every blueberry. Add the filling into the crust, bake for 30-35 minutes at 350º and then let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

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My brother-in-law dubbed this “probably the best pie” he’s ever eaten. #win

 

Blueberry Maple Waffle Pie
For the Crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 package Trader Joe’s Butter Waffle Cookies, pureed
2 cups flour
2 tbsp pure maple syrup, separated

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in egg and egg yolk, mixing well. Scrap down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add flour and pureed TJ’s Butter Waffle Cookies to butter mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix until just barely combined.
3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of maple syrup into the bowl and continue mixing until ingredients are combined well.
4. Generously spray a pie pan with nonstick spray (I prefer coconut). Press pie crust dough into the pan. Brush the remaining 1 tbsp maple syrup on top of the dough before pouring in the filling.
5. Preheat the oven to 350º.

For the Filling:
4 pints fresh blueberries, washed and separated
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp corn starch
pinch salt

1. Puree 1 pint of the blueberries and pour into a medium saucepan. Add the other ingredients to the saucepan and mix well.
2. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes, until the consistency is thick. Remove from heat.
3. When the mixture has cooled slightly, pour over the other 3 pints of blueberries. Use a spatula to mix well, trying to coat all blueberries.
4. Pour blueberries into prepared pie pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool 4 hours (or overnight) and serve.

Peach Pie

I am not a morning person. At all. Given the opportunity, I would sleep until 11 am daily and feel absolutely no shame about it. The bedroom I picked in my house, however, makes that pretty much impossible, as the sun streams through the slats in the blinds every morning and heats the room up 5 degrees hotter than anywhere else in the house. When you live in Florida, an extra 5 degrees makes a big difference. Especially if you’re too cheap to turn down the AC.

Most of the baking I do happens in the afternoon or early evening. For example, tonight I made a peach pie for our 4th of July dessert and games celebration that we are (hopefully) having at my sister’s tomorrow night. (I realize that it’s after midnight as I’m writing this, but “tomorrow” is still the 4th to me, regardless of what the posting’s timestamp says.) While processing the pie crust I realized that if I ever do open a bakery, it would either need to be open in the afternoons and evenings or I’d have to find a morning baker. I have no problem being up at 7, but having fresh muffins and other pastries ready to go at 7 am would mean I’d need to be up around 4 am. That just isn’t happening. But, that’s a problem that I can deal with in the future because for now, I am too excited about teaching to give it up. [On a related note, to the new followers of this blog who subscribe for the recipes, the next entry or two will most likely not be related to baking as this blog is my “everything” blog, not specific to any one select type of post. Feel free to read it, but I wouldn’t be offended if you scrolled past it :).]

I’m still not 100% sure why I decided to make a peach pie. I’ve never made one before and I had to learn a lot of new things to make it work (how to ripen peaches more quickly, blanching peaches to peel the skin off easier, etc) but it’s an experiment that people will hopefully enjoy eating!

Peach Pie

for the crust:
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp shortening
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp ice-cold water

for the filling:
8 fresh peaches, peel, pitted and sliced
3/4 c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon

for the topping:
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c quick oats
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour

1. Grease one 9-inch pie pan. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, shortening, butter and salt until chunky. Add water and combine until it’s one big ball in the processor. Roll dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and place into prepared pie pan. Place pan into refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon into a small bowl. Put the peaches into a large bowl and carefully stir the sugar mixture in, coating the fruit. Do not overmix as this will add a LOT of extra liquid (I’ve learned that the hard way with other fruit pies). Carefully pour mixture into the pie pan.
4. To make the topping, cream butter and sugar together, then add in the flour and oats until just combined. You want the mixture to be a bit crumbly. Crumble topping over fruit.
5. Bake for between 50-60 minutes, turning half way through the baking time, until the topping is golden brown.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

I have 6 dead bananas on my kitchen counter. When I went home last week, my mom gave me 3 that were “on their way out” so that I could make banana bread with them. I spent 20 minutes looking at “banana _______ bread” recipes (plain banana bread is a bit too boring for me) and decided to make strawberry cream cheese muffins.

Yeah, I realize that doesn’t make sense at all. Honestly, I wasn’t going to bake anything tonight or for the next few days, but Tropical Storm Debby has spoiled my afternoon plans. I had every intention of mowing my lawn today (at least, you know, the part the neighbors can see), even if only to avoid having our neighborhood handyman stop by and express to me again how much he really, REALLY wants to mow my lawn, but there’s just too much rain. Muffins to the rescue!

Note: I follow the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. A good portion of this recipe is a slight adjustment from other recipes I’ve used. And people think baking is hard… 😉

Strawberry Cream Cheese MuffinsMakes about 24 muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced into small pieces
turbinado, for sprinkling onto muffin tops

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either grease or line a cupcake pan with wrappers. (You’ll need to do this again, but the muffins need to be baked one pan at a time.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar. Add in the cream cheese, egg, milk and vanilla, mixing until well-blended.
4. Add the flour mixture and combine well.
5. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the strawberries into the rest of the batter.
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, until about 2/3 full.
7. Sprinkle turbinado on each of the muffin tops.
8. Cook for 10 minutes; rotate the pan and cook 11 minutes.