If you love baking pies from scratch and have the time to do so, then go for it, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t. There are many ways to get that homemade taste without as much work. For example, say your family loves pumpkin pie but every year you notice that they only eat the filling and leave most of the crust. Then, this year, don’t put your pumpkin pie filling in a crust. Just pour it into a well greased baking dish or pan to bake. This will save you time and calories.
- If your family loves apple pie but you don’t have time for a crust then make an apple crisp instead.
- Make your life easy and take shortcuts when you can. It is much less expensive to use convenience foods sometimes than to go out to eat.
Here are some more pie tips for both experienced bakers and beginning bakers:
- For something different, try serving your apple pie with butter pecan ice cream instead of the usual vanilla and/or top it with a little caramel ice cream topping.
- Replace 1/4 of the white sugar in your apple pie recipe with brown sugar and/or replace your regular spices with pumpkin pie spice *(below).
- You can give canned apple pie filling more of a homemade flavor by adding apple pie or pumpkin pie spice* to it.
- Lime juice works much better than lemon juice to prevent fruits like apples from turning brown.
- When making fruit pies, microwave the filling for 5-7 minutes before pouring it into the crust. This prevents the crust from becoming overly brown before the filling is completely cooked. In the case of an apple pie, you won’t have to worry about partially cooked apples.
- When making pumpkin pie: Before you pour in the filling, bake the crust for 2-3 minutes just until it starts puffing a little on the bottom. Watch it carefully because it only takes a minute and you don’t want to totally cook it. This really helps prevent those sometimes very soggy pie crusts.
- If you like cheese with your apple pie, mix 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese into your pie crust and then layer the apple filling with another cup of grated cheese.
- If your pies are too runny, add 1 Tbsp. of tapioca to your filling.
- When making pecan pie, melt the butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. This adds the most wonderful caramel like flavor to your pie. For my favorite pecan pie, check out page 254 in our cookbook Dining on A Dime. I received this recipe many years ago from my sister-in-law Mary and have yet to taste one that comes close to it for flavor.
- When making a graham cracker crust, add a little cinnamon to the mix.
- When you need to make a graham cracker crust, crush enough crumbs to fill a large container or coffee can. The next time you make a crust, you can just scoop out the amount you need.
The Very Best Pie Crust
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups shortening, cold
1 egg, cold
1 Tbsp. vinegar, cold
5 Tbsp. cold water
Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives. Add egg, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water. Mix lightly. If dough is too dry, add more water. Mix with hands. Don’t overmix. Mix just until the dough sticks together. Divide into thirds. Roll out to make 3 pie crusts. When using the crust for the top of the pie sprinkle sugar on top. Crust can be frozen in balls and then defrosted and rolled out when ready to use. Makes 3 crusts.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
Mix ingredients well. Makes 1 teaspoon. Use in any recipe calling for pumpkin pie spice.
You can find more quick and easy recipes and cooking tips like these in the Dining On A Dime Cookbook.
Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!
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