YUMMY Old Fashioned ORANGE Meringue Pie

Sometimes it satisfies a certain nostalgia to crack open my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and recreate her tried and true favorite recipes.

They may not be TOTALLY the most UBER healthy…but once in while it’s OK to indulge.

This time I had a hankering for an Orange Meringue Pie…a bit of a change from the standard lemon meringue — not that lemons aren’t delicious — but I had a few organic oranges around and wanted to work with that specific and intensely ORANGE flavor.

I served it after a dinner of Chile Rellenos with Guacamole (post soon.)
The citrus was the PERFECT finishing touch to a spicy meal.

First of all, I’m going to be a bossy pants and insist that you spend just a few minutes to create your own baked pie crust. It’s not THAT difficult and is SO much better than store bought. (Recipe below)

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Old school juicer. VERY low tech.orangepie1 Work it, work it! Don’t leave it for a minute, keep stirring, continue whisking…orangepie2 …until the mixture thickens and become silky, smooth, and emanates an amazing orange perfume.orangepie3

As soon as the filling is done, quickly turn to your mixer and whip the whites into light peaks of pillowy soft clouds.orangepie5Very stiff peaks is what you’re looking to achieve.
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The last few steps are the MOST important. Fill the baked pie shell with the orange filling.
orangepie7 Spread the uncooked meringue over the filling, spreading to completely cover the pie. orangepie8Slide gently into the oven for about five to seven minutes. DON’T leave the kitchen ‘cos a minute too long and your meringue goes from luscious lightly browned goodness to crispy burned in a HEARTBEAT.

LOVELY. Very marshmallow-y.
orangepie9 BEYOND GOOD.

HONEST. :)orangepie10

 

Orange Meringue Pie (thank you, Betty Crocker!)

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crusts, baked
  • cup sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tablespoons butter
  • tablespoon lemon juice
  • tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 -3 egg white, meringue

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Combine egg yolks, orange juice and water; stir gradually into sugar/cornstarch mixture in the pan.
  4. Cook stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; stir in butter, lemon juice and the peel.
  6. Immediately pour into pre-baked pie shell.
  7. Cover completely with meringue-carefully sealing to the edges.
  8. Bake about 10 minutes or until meringue browns lightly.
  9. Cool on wire rack out of drafts.

BAKED PIE CRUST
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Directions

Heat oven to 475ºF. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on wire rack.

Part Two: Countdown to Sexy Time

UPDATE on my friend’s son. He’s home from the hospital with no clearcut diagnosis, but he seems to be feeling better. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I’m very glad it all turned out OK.

And now, back to me — my favorite subject — and my Countdown to Sexy Time.

welcome home

The welcome home table… see the tugboat shaped rock attached by a “towline” to a barge shaped rock? Those were our special finds on our hike in Palm Springs. (Click to read about it) I’ve loaded the barge with cargo of dark chocolate chips. Cute, huh? He’ll really like my creativity.

.Just started the Princess Rosebud Bake-Off:

1. Granola
2. Overnight French Bread
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
4. Carrot Cake (you can see that I already tasted it–I DID have to make sure it was OK, didn’t I?)

(Recipes are posted below)
carrot cake Cooky Jar
I’m not sure what to make for his welcome home dinner; he hasn’t given me any suggestions yet. Possibly Vegetarian Lasagna?

That would be great with the Overnight French Bread although I might save that for Friday when my son and DIL are here.

All I’ve had to eat all day is two hard boiled eggs and one of my special secret formula wheat grass smoothies, so I’m totally ready for food.

The big question…
What should I wear?

Black Boots

Dear me, how did that sneaky Chanel handbag manage to photobomb every pic?

I never had the chance to shop for a new outfit but I do have new boots; his unexpected afternoon arrival wreaks havoc with my original plan of an evening gown and spiky heels.

Although….I’m not ruling out an evening gown; I’ve been known to wear one to the airport, but we have a couple of stops on the way home–I’ll need to figure something out.

He tells me to dress “normal” and I always ask him if he has any idea who he’s married to, or should I say “to whom he’s married”. LOL

Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions. And if you’ll excuse me,  I gotta mow my legs now…

RECIPES

Lowfat Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon, plus 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used nonfat yogurt, a great substitution)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup loosely packed carrots shreds, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 6 cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup sour cream, the oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and walnuts. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, remove the pan and let cool completely.

3. Using a wooden spoon, mix cream cheese and butter. Add confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread or drizzle on top of cake only.

Lowfat (there’s a theme here) Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated raw apple or applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I cannot live without parchment paper. It makes clean up soooo easy! In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, apple/sauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Overnight French Bread
I attempted to inbed the html, but it wouldn’t work, but if you click on the title, it should take you to the recipe I use.

The Compleat Apple Pie…Deconstructed

Your apple pie tutorial.
An apple pie with attitude.

If you are one of the many boys and girls (OK, adults) who’ve never made an apple pie from scratch and you don’t want to meet the Grim Reaper without having made at least one perfect apple pie, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m right here, holding your hand, gently walking you through all the steps and twists and turns to create the best apple pie you will ever eat. Guaranteed. Fur realz. I know you can do it! Once you’ve mastered one pie start to finish, you will never be afraid of a little old piecrust again. Pinky swear.

The Apples
The apples you choose are of the utmost importance. They need to be firm and tart and able to stand up to the heat of a 425 degree oven without becoming mushy as the pie bakes. (For my Canandian friends, you’ll have to do the conversion–I’m not that smart.)

I like Granny Smith or Pippin apples for pies. Normally, that would be the green ones. Depending on the size of the apple, I like to use between 6-8 apples per pie.

apple1I enjoy making my pies the old fashioned way. I peel and slice the apples.

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Squeeze a little lemon juice over the slices for a pop of flavor and it’ll help keep the apples from turning brown.
apple3Unless I’m making apple jelly, I put the peels in the compost bin, and so should you!

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This is one time when I use white sugar and don’t feel guilty about it–about 2/3 cup or to taste. Some apples need more sweetness, some need less. The most important ingredient is cinnamon. The right amount of cinnamon elevates the apple pie to a higher level.  I use approximately 3-4 tablespoons. I do a lot of tasting, so it’s a good idea to add a little at a time and taste as you go. My family loves a LOT of cinnamon!

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When you feel that your apples and sugar and cinnamon have reached the zenith of blissful co-existence, sprinkle one tablespoon all-purpose flour over the apples and mix lightly.

stressed is dessert spelled backwardsDon’t be afraid, don’t desert me before the dessert is complete–watch and learn!

It’s not that difficult. It’s like many things in life. Once you try something new and master it, you lose the fear of the unknown.apple8

I like my mom’s favorite cookbook for old-fashioned recipes.

The Crust
It’s not rocket science. This is a tried and true basic recipe for a two-crust pie. I don’t like to use butter in this crust because I don’t want any other flavors to taint the apple+cinnamon perfection. I know you can use a food processor and it cuts the time in half but sometimes the most satisfying part of baking is to be fully immersed in the process as much as the final results!

For a nine-inch pie pan:
Mix together…
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
Cut in…
2/3 cup shortening
Sprinkle with…
Four tablespoons water

What does “cut in” mean? It means you need to distribute the shortening into the flour so that the particles become the size of peas. This is what makes pastry flaky. pastry-blenderUse a pastry blender to cut shortening into flour. If you don’t have one, use two knives and this technique: holding a knife in each hand with blades almost touching, move knives back and forth in opposite directions in a parallel cutting motion. The side of a fork or a wire whisk works, too.

apple11 Mix only until all ingredients are worked in. If you overwork pastry dough, it’ll become tough. Sprinkle the water in a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until all the flour is moistened. Gather dough together and press into two balls for the upper and bottom crust.apple12

Flour the board or counter and the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick. There are all kinds of fancy schmancy rolling pins–I’ve been really happy with this old wooden one. Flatten the balls with your hand. Roll each ball into a sort of circle; don’t go all crazy thinking it has to be perfect at this point. If it breaks or tears, just pinch and push it back together–about 1/8 inch thick. For an apple pie, I think the bottom crust needs to be a bit more sturdy than the top crust–roll accordingly.

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Roll into a circle two inches larger than pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides.

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Pile high with the yummy apples.

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Redo the same steps with the other round for the top crust. Cut off the extra dough that hangs over–leaving enough to fold under.

You can either crimp the edges…piecrustedges

or use a fork. Dip fork tines in flour; press tines onto edge of dough. Poke with fork or knife all around to release steam as it bakes.apple18

I wanted to add an enchanted seashell embellishment to the final version.

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I molded leftover dough over a scallop shell, cut off the excess, and placed it on the pie.

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It will bake quicker than the pie–remember to take it out after about ten minutes and place it back on the pie before serving.

I always bake pies on a cookie sheet because they will invariably ooze and turn your oven into a burning, sticky, smoky mess that can set off a smoke alarm and that’s always annoying!apple19

Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or so until it’s bubbly and the crust is beautifully browned.

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Yummy!

apple21“Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up”
(Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd.)

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Come on, add this to your list of goals for 2013 and let me know how it turns out!

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Abandoning the mother ship

pumpkin, pumpkin stew

Soon to be pumpkin stew

DIL and sister wife left this morning to drive back up to SF. I still have my son until tomorrow. He flies out mid-morning to the east coast and I’m not looking forward to the thirty-five minute drive and the lunacy of the airport. At its best it’s not pleasant. Now they’re undergoing major construction delays and it’s another level of Hell.  For the moment, home is reminiscent of the old days; he’s sitting at the dining room table with a computer surrounded by piles of books, only this time he’s not writing a report or research paper, he’s grading essays.

Young Yale Professor

Photo of a Yale professor in action

I can’t believe this little sk8r boy of mine goes to work and fifteen college freshman call him Professor Angel Boy. Of course, they don’t REALLY call him Angel Boy, but I think they  should. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the concept. It’s mind boggling. Especially since he still derives the greatest pleasure by shocking me with offensive earsplitting and vulgar expulsions of intestinal gas that serves as his initial form of communication when he opens the front door (Insert loud breaking wind sounds here) “Hi, mom, I’m home!” or belching as commentary while we’re enjoying a lovely meal at the dinner table, like Thanksgiving. Apparently, my laughing is an ineffective method of dissuading that kind of behavior. Sometimes I tell him he’s disgusting but he finds that a compliment rather than a criticism. His wife thinks he’s funny too; even the captain finds him humorous, shaking his head, “That’s our boy!” almost, no, not almost–completely proud of him– so it’s hopeless. The dichotomy between his academic braininess and his juvenile antics is-uh-refreshing. It’s no wonder I treat him like he’s still in the third grade. It’s as if he never left elementary school with the stupid arm farts and the other robust sounds and smells that emanate from all of his orifices. I keep my fingers crossed that when he meets with his department heads or his publisher that he remembers all the lessons in good manners we practiced and he only acts out here as the living embodiment of the prodigal son. Like I said, fingers crossed. 

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

Smells DELICIOUS

I’m in the kitchen baking another loaf of Whole Wheat Bread. Tonight we had Moroccan Pumpkin Stew (recipe below) with steamed brown rice and Seared Ahi ‘cos I have to make sure he gets enough protein.

It’s kind of cold, damp, and foggy; after dinner we made a fire and  played Scrabble. He won, of course–232 to 219.scrabble

An assortment of desserts; apple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookiesapple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookies

Beautiful flowers from my Angel Boy

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 6 small potatoes, well-scrubbed but not peeled, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-1/2 cups canned tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrot, potato, and pumpkin and saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. When vegetables have softened, add the ginger and garlic. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, then add the canned tomato and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, then add the raisins. Allow to cook for 18-25 minutes until all vegetables are soft – but don’t overcook. Serve over or with brown rice.