Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fruit Pie Without the Pie Pan.

Recently there was a bake sale at the Monticello Welcome Center; all funds raised were being donated to the upkeep of the Big 4 Tractor.  The Big 4 is the only one left in the United States that is still running.  It appears in the Pioneer Day Parade every year, and goes to other events.  This tractor is rare and priceless, so efforts are being made to have it declared a National Monument.

Since I had already planned on making a birthday surprise for Dave, the retired manager of (who still volunteers at) the Welcome Center; why not make extra for the bake sale.   While flipping through cooking magazines, I came upon the photo and recipe for "Rustic Fruit Pie".  Now I've said it before, and I'll say it again, baking is not one of my favorite culinary activities, but I do try from time to time.  However, I was able to figure out how to cheat on the recipe, make it simple for myself, and even make extra for the bake sale.  I call mine "Artisan Rustic Fruit Pie"; artisan for handcrafted, rustic for country style; hence the use of both descriptive words.  By the way, you might see such names as tart or galette used to describe them; whatever works for the baker, I say.

Artisan Rustic Fruit Pie
1 package refrigerated pie crusts (2 in a package)
2 cans (21 oz.) fruit pie filling
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425F; line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unroll each pie crust onto center of parchment paper. 

Apple Filling, Raisins, Nutmeg
In a medium bowl, use a fork to take all the fruit out of the can; all the liquid is unnecessary, so don't worry over leaving it.  It might come in handy later on to serve over ice cream.
Now comes the truly fun part, creating a unique filling.  While the pie filling itself might just be enough; the addition of spices such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg will kick up the flavor of apple or peach.  For cherry or blueberry, I usually have bags of frozen stored in the freezer, so add a nice handful to the canned fruit.  Slivered almonds can be added to the fruit, or used on the crust; raisins go great with the apple.

Onto the center of the pie crust, spoon all that lovely goodness; try to keep as much as possible piled up.

Put a little water into a small bowl, not much as you'll be using this to wet your fingertips only.  First, wet those tips, now carefully lift up the crust and crimp a section; the water will help keep the crimp sealed; repeat all around the filling, making sure to draw it close to the center, but not cover it entirely.

Almost done all around.




With a pastry brush, let me digress for a moment; you don't have to get a fancy name, expensive pastry brush.  In any hardware store, you can buy those small hair bristle brushes for about $1 each.  Yeppers, you can use them for pastry brushes; make sure to clean them in soapy hot water and dry upright before storing them away.  They last indefinitely!

So, use the brush to paint the melted butter all over the exposed crust.  Afterwards, you can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar (use large or coarse grain sugar, found in the baking section) over the crust, and don't forget a little bit over the filling too.  For the cherry and blueberry, I used brown sugar; and this is where you can add those slivered almonds too.

Large Grain Sugar

Cinnamon and Sugar over Crust and Filling

Ready to Bake Apple (on left), Peach (right)

Bake for 30 minutes.  Now it's going to be a given that they might leak as there is no pan keeping them from expanding; after the 30 minutes, remove from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes; the leaks will seal themselves.  Each pie will look unique which gives more credence to using the terms "artisan" and "rustic".  To get the pie onto a plate, cut the parchment paper around the pie, grab one end of the paper and simply slide it off the baking sheet and onto the plate.  Serve warm from the oven alone, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  To store, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator; warm up a piece and don't forget the ice cream!

Apple Raisin



..and there you have them, rustic fruit pies using store bought items.  It might be cheating, but it's still homemade, and delicious!!!

Mary Cokenour