Filling pies with something different

June 17, 1992|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Tired of the same old cherry, apple and lemon meringue fillings? If Dad's not a total traditionalist, you might be able to please him with one of the following.

The first recipe is from last year's Crisco pie baking contest. Beth Sternitzky, of Apache Junction, Ariz., represented her state in the contest, held in New York.

Supreme citrus pie

Serves six to eight

1 9-inch crust

FLUFFY FILLING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 package (4-serving size) lemon flavor instant pudding and pie-filling mix (not sugar-free)

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

CLEAR FILLING:

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup water

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

TOPPING:

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare crust in a 9- or 9 1/2 -inch deep pie plate. Prick bottom and sides thoroughly with a fork (about 50 times) to prevent shrinkage. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

For fluffy filling, combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in large bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer until smooth. Add lemonade concentrate. Blend well. Beat in pudding mix until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into baked pie crust. Make shallow depression in filling 1 inch from edge. Refrigerate.

For clear filling, combine cornstarch and 1/3 cup water in small bowl. Stir to blend. Combine egg yolks and lemon juice in medium bowl. Beat until smooth. Combine granulated sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture slowly. Cook and stir until thickened and clear. Remove from heat. Stir in egg yolk mixture slowly until blended. Return to heat. Cook and stir one or two minutes or until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until blended. Cool completely. Spread gently over fluffly filling.

For topping, beat whipping cream in small bowl at high speed of electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Spread over clear filling. Refrigerate until firm.

The next recipe is from the Oregon-Washington-California Pear Bureau.

Lemon pear pie

Serves six to eight

2 pastry crusts

FOR THE FILLING:

6 cups (about 6 medium) pared, cored and sliced Anjou pears

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon fresh ginger root (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

FOR THE GLAZE

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss pears with lemon juice. Add sugar, flour, peel and ginger; mix well. Turn pear mixture into pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate; dot with butter. Trim second pastry crust into 1/2 -inch strips and form lattice over top of pie; seal and flute edges. Bake 40 minutes or until pears are tender and crust is golden brown. Remove pie from oven and brush lemon glaze on lattice while pie is hot.

The next two recipes are from "Dessert Sensations," one of Faye Levy's "Fresh from France" cookbook series (Dutton/Penguin, 1990, $22.95).

Strawberry tart with almond cream

Serves six to eight.

Sweet pastry (recipe follows)

ALMOND CREAM:

2/3 cup whole blanched almonds

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

1 tablespoon kirsch or amaretto liqueur, or 2 teaspoons rum

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

TOPPING:

3/4 cup strawberry preserves or red currant jelly

1 1/4 pounds fairly small strawberries, hulled

Prepare sweet pastry dough and refrigerate until firm.

Butter a 9-inch square or 10-inch round tart pan with removable bottom. Let dough soften 1 minute before rolling it. Roll out the dough on a cold lightly floured surface to a square or round about 1/4 -inch thick and 2 inches larger than pan. Roll up dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll it over pan. Gently ease dough into pan. Using your thumb, gently push dough down slightly at top edge of pan, making top edge of dough thicker than remaining dough. Roll rolling pin across pan to cut off dough. With your finger and thumb, press to push up the top edge of dough all around pan, so it is about 1/4 -inch higher than rim of pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Chill for 1 hour or cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or freeze.

Position a rack in lower third of oven and heat to 425 degrees. Heat a baking sheet on rack in oven.

To make the almond cream, in a food processor, grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar to a fine powder. Beat butter in bowl until soft. Add remaining sugar to butter and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. In a small bowl, beat egg and egg yolk. Gradually beat egg mixture into butter mixture. Add liqueur, then stir in almond mixture and flour.

To make tart, spread almond cream over dough in tart pan. (It will seem like a small amount, but it puffs.) Bake tart on hot baking sheet for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes, or until almond cream is set and golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Heat preserves or jelly over low heat, stirring often, until melted. Strain preserves, pressing on pieces; there is no need to strain jelly. Brush preserves or jelly on tart. Arrange whole strawberries on top, pointing up. Brush jelly over the berries. Serve at room temperature.

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