Tag Archives: Sugar

The pinch hitter and his Dead Sea Scroll pear/cranberry/blueberry pie

Pies are not on my list of favorites to bake or eat, but I’m pretty sure my husband’s first solid food was pie. So this weekend, I realized it was time to call in my pinch hitter since I’ve been in a no-blogging zone for the past five weeks while teaching.

On Saturday night when I returned from the Country Living Fair in Columbus, there was another Dead Sea Scroll pie cooling on the counter. The pie baker had been busy, so I took a photo and begged him to send me the recipe to share. He did more than that — he expounded. What a guy!

photo (10)Fred’s Dead Sea Scroll
Pear-Cranberry-Blueberry Pie

I call these pies my “Dead Sea Pie Scroll” series. That’s because I use Phyllo dough as crust. It’s frozen and rolls out looking like I think the Dead Sea Scrolls probably looked when they were unrolled after 2,000 years in the desert.

I followed the opinion that it’s very difficult to bake a bad pie.

On Saturday someone placed a bag of Bartlett pears on our back porch. So, I peeled them (about 7). Sliced them and started rummaging through the freezer to see what needed to be dumped.

I found a half bag of cranberries from Christmas and a bag of blueberries. I nuked them for 2 minutes, dumped them into the pear slices and started to think.

What else would go with this? So, in went one-half cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of corn starch and some random spices – ginger and something else that I don’t remember. You can never lose with sugar, but I like to try to limit it – most pie recipes call for lots more sugar than this.

While lemon juice is always good with cranberries, I had none, so I added a slug of OJ.

I wasn’t in the mood to make a crust, but luckily I had Phyllo dough frozen from a previous project. I used that for my pie crust and pie topping. After all, Phyllo sounds like “pie,” so why not use it as a crust substitute? It works.

Poured the fruit-sugar glop into the Pyllo crust, already placed in the deep dish pie plate.

I’d preheated the oven to 350. Placed the pie in the heated over and ignored it for one hour. I added an aluminum sheet on top of the pie so as to not burn the crust after one hour. 

Waited 30 more minutes and took it out of the oven. Didn’t wait to eat.



Popsicles can’t compete with watermelon/cucumber/mint granita

Long ago and far away in the land known as “when the girls were little,” our kitchen table became the production area for some pretty interesting concoctions. This usually happened when we were in some sort of extended food preparation, such as freezing strawberry jam in large batches.

Here’s how I remember it…no doubt their version is different. To keep them occupied, I gave them blended berries and let them create away. They added salt, sugar, artificial sweetener, food coloring, and I’d rather not know what else. What I remember is that the final color was what they finally identified as “puce”. Fortunately, they didn’t expect anyone except their dolls and stuffed animals to participate in a taste test.

In the intervening years, the two of them have developed their own cooking skills and tastes. Once in awhile, they take over our kitchen while visiting.

So I wasn’t surprised the other day when I came home and discovered that part of a huge watermelon had disappeared from the fridge. Initially, I thought maybe the two of them had engaged in a backyard game of spitting seeds. But no….such was not the case.

Feeling sorry for her sister, who had cut the inside of her mouth in a car accident, daughter number 1 decided to concoct something cold, sort of an adult version of a popsicle.

What did she come up with? Watermelon sorbet, which she described as more of a granita or shaved ice, because it was “chippy” rather than smooth like a sorbet. Check out her photo, followed by the recipe.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Spearmint Granita/Sorbet
3 cups water

1 cup sugar
Large bunch of fresh mint
3 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1 cut peeled and seedless cucumber chunks
Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring a few times, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep 3 stems of mint. Leave to cool and then remove the mint stems.

Process the watermelon and cucumber chunks, 1/4 cup mint leaves, and the mint sugar syrup in a blender or food processor. It may be necessary to do this in smaller batches rather than all at once.

Strain the blended mix through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a bowl. Press/squeeze out as much pulp as possible. Discard the leftover pulp. Chill for a few hours in a glass or metal 9″ pan. Stir the icy mixture every hour until all is frozen – it will be chippy.
*I don’t know if an ice-cream maker would produce a smoother result, but it couldn’t hurt to try. 

Other potential flavors:
Cantaloupe and mint
Cantaloupe and basil
Lemon verbena and orange
Herbal (mints, lemon balm, etc.)
Mint (spearmint, peppermint, etc.)
Apple and maple syrup

Recipe from: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Food/Stir-It-Up/2012/0803/Watermelon-cucumber-and-mint-sorbet