Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gingered Pear Pie

On my other blog I wrote about these unique and delicious Asian Apple Pears that we have an abundance of this year. We have had them sliced and added to salads tossed with a balsamic vinegarette dressing. On a cheese and cracker plate. They are especially good with brie cheese. Pies, like the one I made last night. And now that they are getting a bit past their prime, tommow will be chopped up and made into Walnut, Pear Muffins and frozen for breakfast treats.

This recipe is from an old Bon-Appetite magazine, November 1991. I know......who keeps these magazines around for 17 years? A recipke junkie, that's who! I am, however, in the middle of a huge project to divest myself of this clutter and still keep the recipies. Using the Living Cookbook program which I highly recommend, I am systematically going through the magazines and copying the recipes that appeal to me and don't seem to be duplicates. Scanning some of the photos and then .....sadly waving goodbye to my old friend the magazine is gone.

Gingered Pear Pie

One recipe of lard pie pastry (see previous apple pie recipe)

3/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger

3 pounds pears, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp quick cooking tapioca

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Egg Wash (one egg mixed with a tbsp of water or milk)

Make the pie crust according to the directions in the previous recipe. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Place raisins and ginger in a small saucepan and just barely cover with water. Simmer for about 5 minutes on a very low setting. Set aside and let raisins plump while preparing the filling and crust. The raisins can be done several days ahead. Just cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and slice the pears. I put them in a water bath that has had a bit of lemon juice added to it to keep them from turning brown. When al l pears have been sliced, drain and toss the pears with the remaining ingredients. Set aside while rolling out the crusts.

Mound the fruit in the bottom crust leaving an overhang of about 1/2 inch. I have a handy pair of kitchen scissors that I use. Roll out the top crust and place on the pie and trim to equal the bottom crust for overhang. Roll the two crusts under and flute. Save the scraps and cut out some decorative shapes. Brush the crust with the egg wash and place the decorations. Brush again with egg wash and cut a few slits for steam vents.

Place on a baking sheet, to keep spills from occuring, and bake at 400 for 1 hour or until golden brown. If the edges begin to get too brown, protect them with a strip of foil.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beef Lemon Shiskebab

The last gasp of Indian Summer is upon us in California. Crisp mornings and warm afternoons in the high 70 to low 80 degrees. Perfect time to use up that last bag of charcoal briquettes and have friends over for an early afternoon barbeque.

This recipe takes a not so tender cut of beef and turns it into a tasty and festive meal that really stretches the food budget. I've cooked this since the Carter years, which it seems we are doomed to repeat. SO goes an inexpensive meal that will easily feed 6 to 8 adults.


1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp granualed beef broth
1/2 tsp pepper

Blend all the marinade ingredients in a food processor until a fine puree.


4 pounds of thick cut sirloin steak or london broil
32 large mushroom caps
3 large lemons
3 large red and green peppers

Optional: Zuchinni, yellow squash, eggplant

Cut the meat into 32 squares about 1 1/2 inches. Pour the marinade in a large ziplock bag or bowl and toss in the meat squares. Marinate overnight for optimal tenderness.

A few hours before cooking:

Cut up the pepper into 1 1/2 squares.

If using the optional zuchinni or other squash. Slice into 1/2 thick pieces.

Eggplant cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Peeling the eggplant is optional. I like the peel because it keeps the eggplant chunks whole.

Thinly slice the lemons.

Bring the meat mixture out and toss in all the ingredients except the lemon. Marinate and bring to room temperature for several hours. Room temperature is important otherwise your skewers will be uncooked and cold in the center.

Place meat on skewers alternating the other ingredients. Broil or grill until meat is desired doneness. Basting with marinade if needed. The meat in the middle of the skewers will be less done than the ends for those (me me me!!) who like their meat on the rare side.

Serve with:
Mixed greens salad and lemon rice or orzo pilaf.
Dessert: pineapple lemon sorbet. If you think you are already overloaded on lemon/citrus then you can't go wrong with plain old vanilla ice-cream and some fresh chopped macerated fruit.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Caramel Apple Pie

Apple pie time!!!. The days are getting short and cooler and baking is in the air.

Here is an unusual apple pie with a caramel sauce poured over the lattice crust. I use lard in my pie crusts to give the most tender and flaky crust.

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup lard (Yes I said lard!!)
6 tbs cold water or more if needed

In food processor or with knives cut in the flour, lard and salt until resembles coarse meal
Remove to a bowl and toss lightly with a fork while sprinkling in the water. Toss until it forms a ball that can be held together when pressed lightly. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water

8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced thinly

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure the sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, cut the pie dough in two and roll out a crust with one half. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. The lattice work crust is non negotiable. You must be able to pour the caramel over and through the crust.Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Take a pastry brush and spread the caramel over all the pie crust. The crust will become crispy and shiny when cooked.

Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

Let the pie cool before cutting or else the caramel will come running out.