I post recipes here the way that I make them, so of course you should feel free to adapt these to what your family likes!
To make this blog user-friendly, I put tags for each major ingredient of each recipe, as well as for type of dish, and ethnicity, so you can go to the list on the side here (scroll down) and search for specific things.
If you like a recipe, please comment! If you have a yummy adaptation, please leave that in the comments as well!

Chocolate Velvet Pie

Thanks to Katrina for submitting this recipe. (There are three more contest recipes coming, so I'll announce winners in a couple of weeks once we've had a chance to try the rest of them!)

Official Review: More substantial than the light and airy Chocolate Bavarian Pie, this pie is faster to make but the ingredients cost a bit more. It is very rich—a "just a sliver will do thank you" sort of pie. It nearly qualifies to be a candy rather than a pie (it's like a chocolate cheesecake, or fudge with a crust). Hubby made the comment that he thought it was over the top for Thanksgiving (when there are so many other rich foods) but that it would be lovely at Christmas. He also told me I had better make sure to keep this recipe. ☺
One thing I want to try next time I make it is to use a precooked pastry crust rather than a crumb crust--I think it might tone it down a little.

This pie pushes the boundaries of ‘decadent’ and
on the verge of ‘naughty’

2 c. (11.5 oz. pkg.) milk chocolate morsels
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate crumb crust or graham cracker crust
Sweetened whipped cream (opt'l)
Chocolate curls (opt'l)
Chopped nuts (opt'l)

Microwave morsels for 1 min. Stir. Microwave 30 sec. more; stir until smooth. (For those, like me, who have a microwave-free kitchen, just heat them on the stovetop over low heat for around 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.) Cool to room temperature. Beat cream cheese, chocolate, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until light in color. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into crust. Chill until firm (it only took about 30 min). (Top with opt'l ingredients if desired.)

Marie Callender's Blueberry Cream Pie

I got this recipe here but in case the other site ever goes down or something, I'm copying the recipe over as well. ☺
This recipe is fairly time consuming, but if you try it I think you'll agree that it's worth the effort. (Unfortunately it's not a terribly photogenic pie...it's soft and tends to slide and 'melt' a little even when properly chilled...but it tastes fantastic!)

1 baked and cooled 9" pie shell (it really will overflow an 8", so get yourself a nice big deep pan for this one!)

*Blueberry Filling
1 can blueberries in heavy syrup (15 oz), drained, reserving juice in one bowl and berries in another (if you use fresh berries, use around 2cups, and cook them down over low heat with a little water and around 1/2 c sugar until they thicken.)
1 1/2 c water (I found that this made the pie a little runny, so in the future I'll either reduce it or drain off half of it after the apples cook)
1 c pea-sized diced apple
3 Tbs cornstarch (you can substitute with 6Tbs flour, but you'll want a little extra water to blend it with, so you'll need to reduce the water elsewhere to balance it)
1/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Sour Cream Topping
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbs cream cheese
1/2 tsp knox gelatin
2 Tbs cold water

In a medium saucepan combine diced apples with 1 1/2 c water and sugar at medium temperature until the apples are done but not mushy. (Do make sure they are done, otherwise the texture will stand out from the blueberries...it tastes fine, but the texture of a not-quite-cooked apple is a little odd in the middle of a blueberry pie!)
While the apples are cooking mix cornstarch with 1/4 c water until dissolved. When apples are done add lemon juice and berry juice, cook and stir until blended. While stirring on medium heat add dissolved cornstarch slowly and stir constantly until thickened. Add berries and cinnamon and mix well. Remove from heat and cool before placing into cooled prepared pie shell.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Dissolve gelatin in 2 Tbs water and set aside. Mix the sour cream, sugar, and cream cheese in a pan on low heat until sugar is dissolved and everything is mixed thoroughly. Stir and watch that mixture does not burn or dry out. When all is smooth and blended add vanilla and stir. Then gradually add gelatin until mixture has a firm consistency of soft pudding. Remove from heat.
Topping can be smoothed over blueberries while luke warm, then chill the whole pie.

*If you are on a tight schedule you may substitute blueberry pie filling, but it will be sweeter... if you do this, it replaces the entire filling mixture--not just the blueberries. When I tried this though it did not set up very well. The pie tasted great, but it was very runny.

Momma's Apple Pie

Thank you to Brooke, this is one of the recipes submitted for my pie contest...
Our official review of this recipe: It’s slightly sweeter than my old apple pie recipe, and it has a pronounced cinnamon flavor. It’s a very attractive pie, with the filling turning a pretty red rather than staying pale and colorless as most apple pies do. My hubby’s conclusion is that it’s a good apple pie but so similar to my other recipe that he wouldn’t be able to tell them apart unless he had a slice of each on his plate at the same time (which he did for the official review). My conclusion is that I like the sharper cinnamon and bright color, but I prefer the more gelled texture of the filling in my other recipe (caused by adding flour to it) so in the future I will probably combine the two to create a perfect apple pie.
Did I mention that apple pie is my favorite kind of pie?
Yeah, it is.
I think.
My favorite fruit pie anyway.
I think. ☺

sour apples (6-7 Johnathan apples or 4 Granny Smith) (I used granny smith)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp butter
pie crust (I tend to buy them because I have yet to make a good one!)

Peel, core, and chop apples;
Put apples in a large pot along w/ the sugar, spices, and butter;
Cook and stir until syrupy and the apples are partially cooked;
put them into your pie crust, put on the top crust;
bake @350 for 50 min
(tends to make a mess in the oven, so be prepared by putting a cookie sheet under it)

Tips for Pies

It's pie season, and that warrants a post full of tips about pies. ☺ (If you have other tips, please leave them in the comments and I'll add them to the post!)

Pie crusts are not hard to make, but you do have to follow the directions (no shortcuts!) otherwise they will lose the flakiness or fall apart. I have posted my own favorite crust recipes here, meanwhile here are a few tips for making your own pastry crusts:
  • Have all the ingredients as cold as possible--you can even set the bowl and mixing implement in the fridge for a little while ahead of time.
  • Handle the dough as little as possible. Extra mixing, rolling, or mooshing reduces flakiness and makes it more stiff and chewstiffer.
  • Don't try to use an electric mixer--use a pastry mixer or a fork. Electric mixers tend to overhandle the dough.
  • Pie dough is the one time when I use shortening instead of butter--the texture really does make a difference.
  • Shortening is not hard to measure--you can buy the pre-marked cubes (they keep well in the freezer) or you can use water displacement--get a 2c measuring cup and put in 1c of water, then put in blobs of shortening until the water level moves up to indicate that you have enough shortening (1 1/2c water level for 1/2 c shortening, etc). No sticky greasy measuring cups, just one sticky spoon and some slightly damp shortening...but you'll be adding water to the dough in a second anyway so it's ok! ☺
  • Did I mention to touch it as little as possible?!

  • Leftover crust dough always gets snitched around here, either raw, or made into pastry goodies.
  • Another option for extra crust is to use a small cookie cutter and use the little cutouts to decorate the top of your pie.
  • If you're shy on the amount of dough you need for a top crust, try cutting it into strips and making a lattice (make the spaces as wide as you need to so that there are enough strips). Alternately, use a small cookie cutter in a simple shape such as a star and cut out a bunch of those. Lay them together around the top of the pie with the edges touching--voila, a top crust!

  • There are two main ways to get the crust from the counter to the dish: first, gently fold it into quarters then lift it over and unfold it into the pan...this is what I do for bottom crusts (and if it gets a little wrinkled or cracked it's ok because it will be covered!). For top crusts, I gently roll the pie crust up onto the rolling pin, then move that over to the pan and unroll the crust right across the filling.
  • If you get your finger wet with water and run it around the edge of the pie before putting on the top crust it will help the two layers stick together. It's not such a big deal with a full top crust, but it will hold the pie together if you're making a lattice-top or doing the cookie cutter top.
  • One area of pie making that I have always struggled with is making a pretty crimped edge. After years of simply pressing it with fork tines (which works fine for single-crust pies but not so well for two-crust pies) I have finally learned to make a nice crimp. My mom always used the tips of her thumbs and forefingers, but I can't get that to work. What does work for me is to use the first knuckles of my first two fingers. So play around a bit, see what works for you!

Put a cookie sheet under them because pretty much every fruit pie I know of will overflow and drip juices over the edge of the pie dish and you don't want to have to scrub that sticky goompy mess off the inside of your oven! I like to line the cookie sheet with foil because then the cookie sheet doesn't become a sticky goompy mess either.

Use pie weights in the bottom of the shell to keep it from puffing up as you bake it. If you don't have pie weights, a small oven-safe plate or saucer works, or you can lay in 2-3 spoons (be careful when they come out, they'll be really really hot!!)
Make sure the shell is fully cooled before you try to put the filling in. Yes, this means waiting a while, but trust me, it's not worth the runny pie that you'll get if you don't wait. ☺
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