Tag Archives: Honey

Four pies: Portland (and Bozeman)

5 Apr



Dino apple pie

Well, during my far-too-long Cats and Commas hiatus, I’ve actually been baking quite a bit. Every holiday, birthday, etc., is a reason to share a baked good, and I take almost every opportunity possible.

Above is a collaboration apple pie that Hannah and I made together while visiting our friends in Montana in January. We didn’t follow a recipe per se, but we did use a standard all-butter crust and a standard filling of apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. One of the highlights of the trip, aside from the board games and microbrews, was our visit to the Museum of the Rockies, where we were gifted these fabulous dinosaur cookie cutters.

We served this pie a la mode, with Graham Slam ice cream, and, yes, it was as good as it looks (not even close to a humble brag). Also, for those of you science nerds, Hannah shared this excellent apple pie graphic a while back, which explains the science behind a great pie.

Ritz cracker pie

On the other side of the apple pie spectrum, for the Super Bowl I tried a mock apple pie, made with nothing but Ritz crackers, water, lemon  juice, sugar, cinnamon and cream of tartar (which I assume helps with the texture). A creation of the Depression era, when fresh foods were likely scarce and processed foods were likely cheaper, the Super Bowl-watchers who ate this pie without knowing what was in it were convinced it was regular old apple.

And, by accident, my crust turned out looking like a giant version of a Ritz cracker.

Ritz mock apple pie

The interior certainly had the gooey texture of an apple pie, just without the apple chunks. It was a bit on the sweet side for my taste, but it was an interesting experiment with a unique historical past. The recipe I used came from the cookbook “Pie,” a volume with hundreds of recipes, bits of history and techniques.

mini greek yogurt honey pie

For Eileen’s birthday in mid-February, I made mini-Greek yogurt and honey pies, which we’ve made before as a previous Cats and Commas challenge. Whipped cream, gelatin and Greek yogurt (chilled in the fridge) top a graham cracker crust, and it’s a delicate, delicious combination. For these, I used mini-springform pans, which are quite handy for individual servings.


My most recent pie creation was in honor of Pi Day on March 14, which I’ll write a separate post about to share some links from around the Web. For this pie, I decided on a “use-what’s-in-your-pantry” philosophy, which led to vanilla cream pie with a graham cracker crust and meringue. The meringue only makes sense for using up your leftover egg whites, because the pie filling calls for the same amount of egg yolks that you need (recipe also from “Pie”).

This was a hit at work, where we had a buffet of different varieties to choose from, including a tasty, cookie-like pie that’s different than any I’ve tried before. For lack of a better descriptor, I assume the recipe is something like this.

It’s no coincidence that each month in 2014 has featured pie as a highlight. I hardly need an excuse to make one, but then again, Easter is only a couple weeks away.



Greek Yogurt and Honey Pie: Denver

24 Apr

Mmmmmmm. That’s really about all I have to say about this recipe.  It is so light and delightful.

I started with the graham cracker crust (I can’t believe that Nora, my queen of midwestern/mid-century baking has never made one!) – I forgot to buy NON-quick-cook oats, which the recipe specifically states you need. Whatever. My crust turned out fine. And yes, as Nora mentioned – butter is what makes this all stick together. Use lots! Here’s my crust pre-butter:

It took way longer for my crust to cool off than I thought it would. This is usually sort of a problem for me – I can never get the timing of recipes quite right. Anyhow, it’s pretty important to have a totally-cooled crust when you’re pitting the filling in, because it’s the chilling that sets the pie. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to cool it off.

About 10 minutes into the crust-cooling (if I did this again, I’d give it 30 minutes into the cooling process), I started my filling. Water in gelatin, yogurt and honey, etc etc. Here it is, happily in its little double-boiler.

Make sure this cools well, too – I put mine out on our chilly balcony – because you really don’t want to melt the cream you’re about to whip.

Speaking of…whipped cream. Be still, my heart.

Fold the cream into the yogurt/honey, and into the crust it goes…


Mine chilled overnight, and turned out perfectly. I took Rainy Day Gal’s advice and served with raspberries. I only have this mediocre iPhone photo from the Boy’s phone, because I forgot my camera when we went over to my parents’ for dinner.

Greek Yogurt and Honey Pie: Portland

20 Apr

I remember falling in love when Hannah made this treat last year, and my attempt didn’t disappoint. It was super simple to make, a delightfully light springtime dessert. BUT I totally failed to properly photo document this one.

Here’s some insight into my life. Because I’m a journalist, I’ve gotten into this awful, awful habit of multitasking for everything, which means I can’t just do one thing at a time. Hence, I tend to bake and talk on the phone to my mom, etc. So I apologize for the dearth of photos because of my inordinate distraction. I swear I actually followed all the directions.

The only “trouble” this recipe gave me was that the graham cracker crust (gasp, I’ve never made one before) came out more crumbly than I expected. Perhaps I should use MORE BUTTER next time. Obviously, that is the solution to every baking problem.

And of course, my good old oven made the crust super brown (also could have been because I left it in too long — curse you, multitasking).

Here’s the delicious yogurt-cream mixture before going into the crust to set. I found it incredibly ingenious that it’s basically a Jello dessert without the crazy fruit flavors. Perhaps my favorite part of this recipe was folding the yogurt into the whipped cream. It’s oddly relaxing.

The result? Glorious!

And here’s a slice. Geez, the light in my house was really poor today. I guess that’s what you get in an Oregon spring.

Also, I just want to share with Hannah how much I love her Christmas (newspaper apron and oven mitt) and birthday (set of Wizard of Oz tumblers) presents.

Challenge #11: Greek Yogurt and Honey Pie

5 Apr

The next challenge: an almost no-bake pie that is similar to a cheesecake (but, arguably, better for you).  The recipe  comes from a generally badass blog called Rainy Day Gal. I’ve made this pie once before and it was incredible but left some room in my technique for improvement. My mother is hosting us for “Easter” (Zombie Jesus Day) dinner on Sunday and I thought this would make a lovely spring dessert to take along.