Pie Tricks and Cheats!

If my Black & Decker Handy Steamer is not my favorite small appliance, it’s sure in the top three.  I’ve had this thing for something like 15 or 20 years and it keeps working.  Still only costs about $30.00 and it makes steaming rice and all other grains just about fool proof.   There are all kinds of good healthy whole grains out there, and this thing makes it easy to incorporate them into your diet.

So why is it the first photo on my pie post?  Because I finally branched out and started steaming potato (red potatoes with fresh herbs lst night) and veggies in it.  And in this case I steamed a sweet potato for use in another pie.  Thought I’d try softening the refrigerated butter on top of it for the last 10 minutes.

As you may be able to see, 10 minutes was too long.  But maybe five.  (And ONLY if you use a hot pad or glove to put the stick of butter there…you can get a bad steam burn if you don’t.)

Luckily, melting the butter doesn’t seem to make a difference in this recipe.

Pie Trick #1  – I am fairly new to pies.  They always scared me for some reason.  Maybe I had a bad experience with a pie in my childhood?  I remember picking thousands of elderberries only to end up with enough for two little pies in recycled chicken pot tins.

The trick is to put the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Saves cleaning filling off the bottom of the oven.  Also, if it doesn’t get filled with filling, you can fold it up over the crust when it gets brown enough in the last 15 or so minutes of baking.  That’s been the hardest part of making a pie, I think…getting little strips of foil to stay on the crust so it doesn’t burn.

Or is there some smarter way to do this that I’m ignorant of?

Pie Cheat #1 – Go ahead and use a frozen crust.  I tried making my own crust and will definitely revisit it, but almost no one expects you to make your own, and it’s wonderful to have a couple of crusts in the fridge for when someone’s coming over and you can have fresh pie in a couple of hours.

Pie Cheat #2 – This may actually be larcenous.  But I just thought of it today when I was making this, my second sweet potato pie.  Pop the frozen crust into the oven for a few minutes before filling.  Just long enough to soften it, so you can pinch the edges and make it look like it’s home made.

Reasons why this may be fair: a) You did work on putting together the filling, and a frozen crust will throw doubt upon that and it’s hard to seem modest when you feel compelled to explain that it’s semi-home made.  b) A homemade crust will make everyone–everyone—feel like they are loved, at least while they’re eating your pie.

Pie Trick #2 – If you dug a hole in your custardy pie when you tested it for doneness, consider putting a dollop of whipped cream over it right before serving.   You can leave the rest of the whipped cream next to the pie.

Offering people unlimited access to whipped cream also makes them feel loved.  See what good you can do in the world, with just a few ingredients and the right attitude?

Oh, and some of you may notice that this pie is a lighter color than the other one.  I guess the other one was actually a yam pie, but that sounds less intriguing.   I had a little extra of the filling so I cooked it in a little Pyrex dish and it seems to have a lighter taste…more like Old Fashioned Cream (I think that’s what it’s called) than the pumpkiny yam.  I think I may like this better.

Hydra’s only question: “Is there another pie?”   Guess that’s Sunday morning’s project!

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4 thoughts on “Pie Tricks and Cheats!

  1. me says:

    Oh boy, lots of helpful info here!…Now… how about cutting me a slice of that pie?

  2. Kathy Rogers says:

    I’m on my third one of those steamers. I use it 2 – 3 times a week. That kind of use + repeated exposure to the dishwasher breaks down the plastic after a while.

    I cook veggies and hard-cooked eggs in it. And heat up TJ’s tamales, too.

    I never found it that great for rice. Do you use the little white rice bowl or just put the rice in the clear plastic steamer container?

  3. megan w says:

    I totally agree with pie cheat number one, in the past year I have been making many quiches, and I have found that the store bought crusts end up being about the same price, and much simpler and mess free than making the crust from scratch, all with little taste difference. I actually like to use the pie crusts that are not frozen, but in the biscuit, cinnamon roll, and cookie tubes can be found. You get two, and because they are not frozen you can mold the to you can pinch them to perfection from the moment you open them.

  4. Sundry says:

    Kathy – Yeah, I use the little rice bowl. A cup of rice, 2 of water and steam brown rices or whole grains for 45 minutes. Perfect! I don’t put the parts in the dishwasher, so mine are in pretty good condition.

    Megan – Oh, I’ve never even seen those in tubes. Will give them a try! Sound like they’d be handy for making smaller tarts, etc. Hmmm… I’m getting ideas!

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