A Year of Pies Giveaway! + Refrigerator Blueberry Pie Recipe

by Handjobs For The Home on September 6, 2012

I was pretty intimidated to make my first pie. I don’t know what it is about pie making that seems all encompassing — like climbing a mountain or something. But, I was ready to take the plunge and give it a shot. With the help of Ashley English’s new book A Year of Pies, it made my first pie experience that much easier.

Ashley English, authour of the blog Small Measure, breaks the book up into pies by season, and then again by the perfect crust construction. From your standard flaky buttery roll out crust, to fun crunchy cookie crusts. Now, let’s get real…I was all game to whip up my first pie but I did want something that would be beginner friendly. I decided to hunt for a recipe with a cookie crust since it cuts out that whole rolling out dough process. Im telling you, it couldn’t have been easier, or more delicious for that matter.

The book also includes recipes by some of my favorite bloggers out there like Kate from Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking and Tim of Lottie and Doof.

It’s been a dog in the city lately — humid and sticky, two of my least favorite things. So, the last thing I wanted to do was crank up the oven for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. When I flipped to the page for a blueberry refrigerator pie, I knew I had found my first pie. The blueberries make it nice an sweet, while the ricotta and cream cheese add a bit of tang and a nice savory element to the mix. Minus the few minutes the crust has to bake in the oven, pretty much everything else is left up to your fridge for the making.

I’m totally empowered and excited for this book to continue pie making. Ashely really makes you feel comfortable in the kitchen and confidant that you can conquer your pie making fears, I know she has mine.

Are you a pie novice? A pro pie expert? This book has got a little something for you!

Luckily for you all, Lark Crafts was not only happy enough to provide me with a review copy, but also one copy to give away to a lucky reader!

Here’s the rules:

- Post a bit about pies in the comments below to enter. Fears, successes, favorite pie, upcoming pie adventures? Share it!

- Comments will close Thursday, September 13th, at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on the blog the next day.

- Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (sorry, Canadians!)

- One entry per person, please.

A special thank you to Lark Books and the always fabulous Ashley English!

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 9-inch deep-dish pie plate
  • 8 oz. Graham Crackers (about 2 cups)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor by pulsing or place in a plastic freezer bag and roll over them using a rolling pin.
  3. Combine the graham crackers with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely mixed.
  4. Press the crust into your pie plate covering the bottom and pressing up the sides halfway.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling.
  6. Blueberry Refrigerator Pie
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Refrigerator Blueberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 C. ricotta cheese, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add 1 pint of blueberries and cook over medium heat until they begin to release their juices.
  2. Stir the sugar and starch into the blueberry mixture, then add lemon juice and zest. Continue cooking for 5 minutes longer. The mixture will begin to thicken and become jam like.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and ricotta.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and purée for about one minute, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust. Decorate the top with 1/2 pint of blueberries evenly over the pie. Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

gail September 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

i have a fear of making crusts from scratch

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Tracy Treece September 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Pie is my family dessert. Not cake. Pie. My Grandpa loved peach pie and his daughters would try to outdo themselves in making Grandpa’s favorite whenever we got together. There would always be at least 6 or 7 at every outing. It was the constant, like some families have their cheesy potatoes. My Grandpa died at my Mom’s house after a long battle with cancer. He was buried with one of her peach pies in his casket.

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Elizabeth F September 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Oh, that is a lovely story!

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Penina September 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

A patient made our clinic the best pies. One day she told me her secret was lard… I didn’t even know they still sold lard! lots of people stopped eating the pie after that.

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Diana Verge September 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I love when all the pumpkins go on sale after halloween. I stock up on sugar pumpkins and prepare and freeze them for fresh pumpkin pie’s all year round.

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Lauren September 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Wonderful! I love Ashley English and pies, too (my man and I are opting for pies over wedding cake come March)! I love a good pecan pie, and used to babysit for a family who’s daughter could make the best I’ve ever tasted. Peanut butter pie (with chocolate cookie crust of course) is a close second.

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Justin September 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I’ve been wanting this book since the day Ashley announced it on her own blog. I’ve always been a big fan of pie-making and an entire “crafty” book about the subject really appeals to me.

While blueberry is my favorite all-around pie (as in I could eat it daily if it was available), I really treasure that first “mile-high” apple pie of the season. I just love the rustic appearance of it with the lumpy top crust from the chunks of apple and nothign says, “Welcome to Autumn!” like cinnamon and apples.

Ok, now I’m hungry…

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Betsy September 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I have bought several pie cookbooks, a new food processor and as much as I try to psych myself up to give it a go, the memories of my many failed attempts and awful, tough pie crusts has kept me from diving in again.

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Elizabeth F September 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Pies are the best. We have 1-2 a week. Sometimes I can’t decide what to make for dinner so just whip up a pie and that makes up for a less than stellar meal. I too did not feel like heating up the kitchen on Monday and did a banana cream with the graham cracker crust.

I have no fear of pies…my crusts are delicious as I have been told over and over. My recipe makes 5 crusts…I use what I need immediately , put the rest in fridge and use next couple days. When the children were younger they had fun choosing what pies I should bake for a holiday…with 5 crusts I could do 2 2-crust and 1 1-crust, or 3 1-crust and and 1 2-crust…you get the idea. Any holiday usually does involve at least 2, often 3 pies.

A trick for those who have trouble rolling crust…get a sheet that has sizes of crust laid out in circles on it. My original was a Tupperware one, back in the 70′s. Went through 2 of those, they crack after awhile. My son found me a new sheet, very nice, at a cooking store on a trip to Denver. Fabulous. Also I roll out each crust between wax paper. You can still see the lines, I don’t need to add all kinds of extra flour which makes crust tough.

I feel I am somewhat expert at pies…I did a pie array for my daughters wedding reception at my house. I heard that when the pies were announced that some people actually ran to get in first choice. No lie. I have also had pies at the county fair, doing extremely well.

In closing, the world always seems better with a slice of pie and a beverage of choice.

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Angie September 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

The one way that I re-connect with my Nana, who passed after a long battle with Alzheimers, is by dusting off her recipe for Cherry Cream Pie come Christmas every year. Each bite I take reminds me of her kitchen in Maine.

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emily @ thirtyeight20 September 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Black raspberry pie is a critical family institution. My grandmother must’ve started this tradition, making black raspberry pies for everyone’s birthdays and all summer long. She is now gone, but my dad and all of his six sisters grow black raspberries, and they all make the pies to this day. Yet somehow there is NEVER ENOUGH black raspberry pie to go around. My brother once stashed his birthday pie in his bottom dresser drawer so no one else would eat it, and he even scraped a little mold off the last piece before devouring it. (He was 14… but I’m sure the same thing could happen now that he’s 35.) There is something wrong with us. I think I need to branch out and start making some different varieties.

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Iris September 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

The only pie I ever make is pumpkin pie because a) I have an awesome recipe that I make completely from scratch and b) I know I can share the pie with others ’cause it’s Thanksgiving. Like with most baked goods, I’m terrified to make them because I love them so much that if I can’t give it away, I will probably eat. the. whole. thing. But I have been meaning to branch out and try new a new pie recipe :)

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Rose September 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

Ahhhhh, pies…that’s baking, isn’t it? Like, a graduation from boxed brownie mix to making cookies from scratch to a quick break to a cake…then onward to PIE! Yikes! Pies-making is serious baking! Just the thought makes my knees weak, but I’ve seen and heard nothing but great things about this book, so I’d give it a try…since out of all the baked goods, my fave is pie!

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Maureen September 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

When it comes to pies I am afraid of making the shell. I usually cheat and purchase a store bought pie shell and go from there.

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Elf September 7, 2012 at 1:13 am

I have trouble, still, with crusts. I once made a super fancy raspberry peach meringue pie for a party, and it was great… Except for the crust. Which wasn’t. But I hope to finally master the pie crust secret this fall, as the city cools down and I want to turn on my oven again!

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Katie September 7, 2012 at 2:02 am

I love pie. Just made my first oil crust and it was so much easier.

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Bonnie Graham September 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

I looooooooove pies! In fact, I enjoy pies so much that I had decided a very long time ago that I was going to have a wedding pie, instead of a wedding cake. To which my sister responded, “You can’t have a wedding pie!!!!” Oh yes, I will have a wedding pie.

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Jenny G September 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I have a difficult time getting the old fashioned pie crust to turn out consistently. I love pie and keep trying new ones. The most interesting to date was sour cream pear pie.

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Susan Blando September 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

My husband LOVES pie. I admit to using ready-made crusts (the ones with the little doughboy on the box…) because it’s easy and fairly good. I would love to learn to make a good crust. Pie is awesome. Thank you for the opportunity to leave a comment and for all the inspiration!
Sue Blando

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Lis September 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

PIE!

I’ve been going through an obsessive pie phase ever since dusting off some old Martha Stewart recipes for use at Christmas. Paté brisée is a bitch to make in LA – it’s too hot and you’re constantly running back and forth from the refrigerator trying too ensure the crust won’t melt – but it’s so, so wroth it.

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Beth September 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm

That book is already on my library list!

My favorite thing to do with pies lately is to make them rustic-looking by leaving out the pie pan. I believe they are called galettes when made that way. I like making savory pies in the fall, with squash, onions and stinky cheese. Yum!

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Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen September 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I still haven’t quite figured out pie crust. Maybe this book will help!

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Kris September 9, 2012 at 1:15 am

I want to give this book to my mom. I’ll make dinner and she can make the pies. Although, I’ve seen a bit of this book and it’s so beautiful, I might be tempted to keep it for myself even though I’m not the pie maker.

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Sally September 9, 2012 at 2:22 am

I love pie! Well, I love eating it. Not so much the making yet. I’m trying, but I did not inherit the Pastry Gene so it’s tricky. My mother’s mother had it but I think I got Dad’s side; a good flaky crust eludes me.

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Ryan Bledsoe September 10, 2012 at 2:05 am

I love making and eating pies! I love to make the pie crust with my food processor, being sure to make extra to keep in the freezer.

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Jeff Tabaco September 10, 2012 at 4:08 am

I love making pies! For the last couple of years I’ve tried to make one pie a month (and for the most part, succeeded). My last pie was a coconut cream pie, which was a hit at our family’s Labor Day get-together.

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pretty.little.hen September 10, 2012 at 4:56 am

Oooohh I’ve been so tempted by this book! Your blueberry pie looks amazing. I(nearly) always prefer eating pie over cake, but find it so difficult to choose a recipe and have a go at it…

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manda September 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I fear making a crust!

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Sydney September 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Confession: I’ve never made my own pie crust. It’s too intimidating.

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Janet September 12, 2012 at 1:17 am

There is only one word: Maine. I’d never been until this August, and though I expected lobster and rocks, lighthouses and majestic vistas, I was profoundly impacted by the most delicious pies I have ever eaten.

Why do Mainers make such good pie? Everyone was selling pie, even out of their homes. They. Do. Not. Play. Around.

After scoffing at the $23 price tag on my first purchase for our campground dessert: a perfectly shaped, sweetly adorned strawberry rhubarb pie in a simple white box, I quickly realized I’d have paid double for it. Crust: golden, flaky, buttery. Filling: sweet, tart, dense enough not to run but not gummy or starchy, either. Perfect for breakfast. Sorry, Alice W., but your pie crust recipe does not even come close to that. Or my skills don’t. Or both.

Anyway, I just kind of went crazy after that. By the end of the camping trip I’d consumed wild Maine blueberry pies, mixed berry pies, even perfect whoopie pies. Do they count?

They should because these babies were the ideal balance of rich, deep chocolatey flavor in a light but just dense enough duo of cakes. More filling than seemed wise at a glance, but was just the right amount and exactly sweet enough for the chocolate cake to cut it.

Maine, I love you and your pie artistry. I am now fixated and must seriously up my pie-game. It’s on.

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Lydia September 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I love using my grandma’s tried and true pie crust recipe… It feels like I’m reconnecting with history!

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Kelly Mosley September 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I love pecan pie. Homemade crust with pecans from the yard! You just can’t beat it!!!!

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Deirdre September 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I looove pie. A few years ago my friends got married and instead of having a wedding cake, they had a picnic and had everyone bring a pie!! It was a wonderful celebration of seasonal flavors, summer picnics, and their love. I made a blueberry peach crumb pie. Mmmmm.

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Blair September 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

The first time I worked with a non-cracker crust (it was store-bought) I was frustrated when after baking the crust, it shrunk in the pan. It turns out I needed pie weights to hold the crust from shrinking! My mother said if she didn’t have weights she would use several utensils to hold the dough down. It was last Thanksgiving so I decided to splurge and bought a box of cement balls from Dean & DeLuca. They worked, so the next crust turned out fine. As soon as the weather becomes cooler I think I’ll try some more pie recipes..

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christina September 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I’m not a pie maker. I wish I was… put on top of that my son’s multiple severe life-threatening food allergies, such as dairy, and ‘forget about it. Good news, we just started introducing gluten back into his (our) lives and I got SO EXCITED by your graham cracker pie crust- I forgot all about the magic of that crust. Now I wanna run out and buy the book – I’m excited to try pie-making again! huzzah

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Cindy M September 14, 2012 at 12:07 am

I love to make apple pie – I saute the apples before putting them in the crust – then bake. Absolutely delicious. :)

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