A Mile High Lemon Brown Sugar-Meringue Pie! (update on toasting meringue)

Lemon meringue pie recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Last week my boys and I drove 5 hours due north to a small town on Lake Superior to get a break from the city. The boys just finished school and I had sent off the first pass pages of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. We were all in desperate need of a vacation. Friends of ours have a lovely home on a pristine lake; no planes flying over, no street lights, no cars, just peace and quiet and night skies filled with stars.

On the drive up, once you pass Duluth, the road is dotted with small shops selling smoked fish and all kinds of pies. It is our tradition to stop to buy pepper crusted smoked fish and a pie: cherry, blueberry or lemon meringue pie. When I first moved here 16 years ago my husband and I stayed on the North shore and discovered Betty’s Pies. We happened in one evening for a slice and ended up going back 3 more times in as many days. We still stop there, although they have moved, grown and the pies aren’t quite what they used to be, but the romance is still there for me.

Here is my version of Betty’s Lemon Meringue Pie (made with my rosemary shortbread crust, a bit of lime zest for more zip and a dome of light fluffy Brown Sugar Meringue!) Read More

Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie

Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Update: There was no contest between the pumpkin and the sweet potato pies that I made for Thanksgiving! The Sweet potato was the unanimous winner. Most of you predicted that in your comments. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t a fair contest. I made a traditional pumpkin pie, like the one you find on the can and it just wasn’t all that thrilling next to a butterscotch sweet potato pie that is spiked with whiskey! 😉

Happy Thanksgiving! I love this day. It is the ultimate holiday for anyone who loves to cook and eat. Today I am hosting the feast at my house. It will be a small party of my family, those who live in MN. We have all the old favorites from turkey to pumpkin pie. Due to my new found love of sweet potatoes I also did a butterscotch sweet potato pie. There are only 8 of us and we have two pies. I hope it is enough! 😉 I thought it would be fun to see which pie becomes the family favorite. After our meal I’ll report back what we decide.

For Butterscotch Sweet Potato Pie inspired by a recipe for pumpkin pie in Bon Appetit:

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.

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White Peach and Raspberry Pie

Fresh Peaches | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

After a winter of nothing but citrus, I’m about ready to go crazy, which my husband claims I did during this past week’s trip to the market. I came home with a case of white peaches, a pile of plums and so many blueberries and raspberries that my kitchen looks like a fruit stand at the farmers market. I can’t resist, it is summer and I love fresh fruit! First I made a bunch of brioche muffins studded with the peaches, plums and berries. But the real reason I bought all the fruit was to make pies. I love them, all of them and pies with ripe fresh fruit are my all time favorite summer dessert, and this white peach and raspberry pie is no exception.

The first trick to a successful pie is a perfect crust, something I am always searching for. Unlike some families, I didn’t inherit a pie dough recipe from my grandmothers. I got cookies and cakes and brisket, but no pie. So over the years I’ve tried nearly every recipe that I’ve ever seen. This time I used one found in the latest baking book by Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours, and it was great! Click here to see my detailed steps of making the lattice top pie crust.

Do you have pie questions or need to troubleshoot your recipe? Check out my guide on how to make pie crust.

And to make the pie: Read More

Perfect Pie Dough 101 — Lattice Pie Crust

Pie dough laying in a pie plate

With very few ingredients you can make one of America’s most beloved desserts, the pie. We start with the crust, the frame which holds the filling, in this case, white peach and raspberry. It should be tender and flaky, buttery and a lovely compliment to whatever you have put inside. I am forever hunting for what I consider the perfect pie crust. There are as many recipes as there are households. Every family seems to have their own prized recipe. If you are having a tough time recreating your grandmother’s crust, it may not be the fault of the recipe, but the technique you are using. Try following my instructions on how to make this dough, with a lattice pie crust. I got the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s latest tome Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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Let’s talk about Pie Dough

I recently got an email from my friend Doris who wrote about her Peach pie woes. The experience of making it had been anything but “easy as pie.” It got me thinking about pie and how that old adage came to pass? Really, for whom is pie all that easy to make? Most people give up at the crust, it is hardly ever as tender or flaky as those you can buy at the bakery, and the fillings are always too runny or too bound up with starch.

I want to demystify pie making for Doris and anyone else who has fond memories of homemade pies but haven’t found a recipe that satisfies. First let’s talk about the dough. In the end it isn’t the recipes that will make or break the pie, so much as the technique used in dealing with the ingredients. I’m going to make a pie with you and show step by step how to deal with the rather simple list of ingredients: Butter, lard (or vegetable shortening), flour, ice water and a touch of baking powder to insure you don’t have a leaden crust. Read More