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National Pie Day is January 23

Who doesn’t love a delicious slice of pie? With so many types to enjoy, from sweet to savory, pie truly deserves a day of it’s own. Take time to celebrate pie by making your favorite. Not a baker? Don’t worry, many pie recipes are as easy as, well, pie!
Favorites such as pumpkin, apple, and even savory “pies” like quiche are quite simple to make. Really, the hardest part of making a pie is the crust, and you can sidestep that task by using a pre-made pie crust. I save lots of time and mess, and they are delicious.

Making the Perfect Crust
If your recipe calls for a rolled dough crust and you’ve never made one, there are many great online tutorials. When baked, the ideal crust should be flakey, browned, and a little crispy.
If your recipe calls for a non-rolled crust, there’s nothing much easier! It’s basically crushed crackers or cookies mixed with melted butter, then pressed into the pan. Some common non-rolled crust pies are cream or custard filled, like key lime and chocolate cream.
Other Pie Tips
Butter or shortening in crust? Use both! – Experts say butter adds more flavor, but shortening yields a more flaky crust. Some recipes use both, producing both the flavor and texture benefit. After cutting butter/shortening into the flour, be sure the water you add is ice cold.
Make the Top Crust Shine – Before baking, brush the top with an egg wash using any of these ingredients: whisked whole egg or egg white, with or without a little water or cream.
Cool Before You Cut – Don’t cut a fruit pie when warm. Let it cool to room temperature so the juices will set up to a nice consistency. If you do cut it warm, you may want to serve with spoons! It’s ok to keep fruit pies at room temperature for a couple of days. Pudding, egg, pumpkin, and mousse pies need refrigeration after they have cooled to room temperature.
Fresh is Usually Best for Fruit Pies – While for apple pie, nothing tastes better than fresh fruit, berry pies are great using fresh or frozen fruit. If you can find boysenberries or marionberries you’ve hit the jackpot. Cherry pie recipes vary with their recommendations. I’ve read that jarred Morello cherries are the best to use if you don’t have fresh cherries.
Here are a couple yummy recipes to try.

Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble and Caramel Sauce
1 single pie crust
Pie Filling:
7 large peeled and sliced Granny Smith or Pippin apples
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon, or more to taste
Pecan Crumble Topping:
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rough chopped pecans
8 oz. good quality caramel sauce (more or less to taste)
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Prepare crust:
Make a single pie crust, or use a ready-made crust (refrigerated rolled dough, not frozen). Place unbaked pie crust in pie plate and flute edges.
Prepare filling:
In a large bowl, mix the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt.
Prepare crumble:
Cut the butter into small pieces and add to a small bowl with the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Using your hands, mix until thoroughly combined.
Assemble and bake the pie:
Add the apple mixture to the pie crust. Evenly top with the crumble mixture. Bake for 15 minutes at 425° F, then reduce oven temperature to 375° F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until apples feel tender when a knife is inserted. Sprinkle top of the pie with pecans and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully so pecans lightly toast and do not burn. When done, place on a cooling rack. Drizzle caramel sauce over the hot pie. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
From Betty Crocker™
1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
3 egg yolks
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
½ cup lemon juice
2 drops yellow food color, if desired
3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
Heat oven to 475°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on cooling rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 400°F. In small bowl, beat egg yolks with fork. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Immediately stir at least half of hot mixture into egg yolks; stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 2 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon peel, lemon juice and food color. Pour into pie crust.
In medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat in vanilla. Spoon onto hot pie filling. Spread over filling, carefully sealing meringue to edge of crust to prevent shrinking or weeping.
Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until meringue is light brown. Cool away from draft 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate cooled pie until serving. Store in refrigerator.

Ham and Vegetable Quiche
Pastry for Single-Crust Pie (homemade or store bought rolled pie crust)
4 large eggs, whisked
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne
1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese
1/3 cup diced cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped cooked broccoli
1/3 cup chopped cooked mushrooms
1 green onion thinly sliced, including green tops
Preheat oven to 450° F. Make a single pie crust, or use a ready made crust (refrigerated rolled dough, not frozen). Place unbaked pie crust in pie plate and flute edges. Line the pie crust with heavy foil, double thick. Bake at 450° F for about 7 minutes (make filling while the crust bakes). Remove the foil liner and bake until light golden brown, about 4 minutes more. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325° degrees. Filling should be added to the hot pie crust, do not cool.
In a medium bowl, blend eggs with half-and-half, salt, and cayenne. Sprinkle in flour and blend. Stir in the cheese, ham, broccoli, mushrooms, and green onions. Pour filling mixture into the hot, baked pie crust. Bake at 325° F for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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