Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Lollipies

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These were a good idea in theory.
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I got the idea to make these little pies on a stick from a website called Luxirare—yes, another recommendation from a friend. "They're so cute!" I thought. "I'll make heart-shaped ones for Len for Valentine's Day!" (Luxirare's pie pops are round.) "And I'll fill them crab apple butter so they're pink, for Valentine's Day!"
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Well, as you can see they did come out looking cute. But aside from that, the lollipies, as I choose name them, were not the best result of all my dessert experiments. Far from it. In fact, I think only the Rhubarb Souffle of '03 can compete with this mini-disaster. And there was a melted lemon ice cream pie once...
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Could they have been great? Yes, according to Luxirare's success story. Would I make them again? Maybe, but only if I followed the advice I have included at the end of the short recipe below.
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What you need:
  • A pie crust, rolled out thin
  • Small amounts of any pie filling
    (for example, finely chopped or mashed fresh fruit mixed with sugar and cornstarch)
  • "Cookie sticks" or oven-safe lollipop sticks
    (found in the baking/candy-making section of most craft stores)
  • A cookie cutter or a jar lid, anything to cut out the mini pie shapes
Cut out little rounds (or hearts, or whatever) from the pie crust, and place half of them on a baking sheet. Put a dollop of filling in the center of each round. Lay a stick on each one.
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Place the other rounds on top of the filled ones, press the edges to seal, using a fork or the end of a spare stick to make the seal more decorative.
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Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes (more or less depending on the size of your pies).
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And now the advice:
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The crust. I would use a store-bought crust next time, because I cannot roll out a thin-yet-sturdy homemade crust. I just haven't mastered it. My homemade crust was far too flaky to hold together and, therefore, was so thick that each pie ended up being about 95% crust, 5% filling. Awful. Very dry. This is the main reason my lollipies were a failure. The pies are going to be more crust than filling no matter what, but you need a thin crust so they're not all crust, and you need a sturdy crust so they don't fall apart.
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Moving the pies. Do not touch the pies until they are cool! They'll crumble right off the sticks otherwise. (Even after they cool, they might fall off the sticks if your crust is too flaky.) They should come up very easily from the pan, but if some filling spilled out, just use a spatula to gently scrape them loose.
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Shared at Eat, Make, Grow

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kitchen Waste-Nots

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A friend recommended a great website to me, and I also think it's pretty great, so I have to forward the recommendation. It's called Re-Nest, and it is so frequently updated, that I can't keep up with its abundance of DIY and green ideas.

One idea from today is How To Waste (Almost) Nothing in the Kitchen. It boils down to five basic things, all of which I am happy to say we already do (most of the time):
  1. Switch from paper to cloth (paper napkins and paper towels become cloth napkins and cloth rags)
  2. Compost as much as possible
  3. Recycle as much as possible
  4. Pack leftovers in reusable, reheatable containers (avoid plastic wraps and plastic bags)
  5. Make and use a grocery list to avoid purchasing things you don't need (and might then toss later)
I would add one more—one we still need to work on at home—and that is to scrutinize the packaging of your grocery purchases and aim to buy things with as little non-recyclable packaging as possible, so you trash as few wrappers as possible.

Any other kitchen waste-nots you would share?
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