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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust


Sometimes you need a baked pie crust for a lemon meringue pie or a prebaked crust for a pumpkin pie.  The problem some people have with baking a crust is bubbling of the pie crust while baking.  This is easily solved by pricking (docking) the unbaked crust all over with a fork or even better is blind baking the crust.  While docking the crust works well you do run the risk of unbaked filling, like pumpkin or custard filling, seeping through the holes made by the fork.  Blind baking eliminates this risk and the pie crust bakes perfectly flat without bubbling with or without holes. 

Blind Baking A Pie Crust
1 unbaked pie crust

Use your favourite pie crust recipe or use one from this site here or here.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  If your oven is very hot reduce this if you think your crust will burn.  

Follow  the directions given below for a perfectly baked pie crust, ready to be filled and served or prebaked for a custard or pumpkin pie filling. 


To blind bake an unbaked pie crust, place parchment paper or foil on top of the unbaked pie crust.  Line the paper with dried beans or pie weights (that may be purchased in kitchen stores),  place the pie crust in the 425 degree oven and bake about 20 minutes until just starting to brown. (You can use the beans over and over again.)

This pie crust was docked before blind baking.  This is not necessary because the beans or pie weights keep the crust from bubbling while baking. 

Prebaking the crust helps keep the crust crisp when making any kind of custard pie.  You can dock (prick it with a fork) the crust but if you want to bake it with a custard filling like a pumpkin pie the filling could seep through the fork holes.  Blind baking insures you have a nice flat crust without any bubbling.   If you would like the pie crust fully baked, bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.


Baked flat, sides and bottom.






Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lori's Peanut Butter Balls with Sprinkles


Our Lori loves peanut butter balls.  Vicki, her mother, and our daughter-in-law makes them for her all the time and when they come for a visit Lori looks for them in my cookie jar.  I've had to disappoint her every time but not the next time they come.  Nanny is making these for Lori right now!  Of course, we'll share them with whomever is in the house.  


"Camping" under Nanny's dining room table.

Most no-bake peanut butter balls have similar ingredients and taste about the same.  Some have sugar, some honey, some powdered milk, some graham cracker crumbs and some oatmeal.  But the overall taste is sweet peanut butter.  I like them all.  

The original recipe is from the Kraft Canada site and I haven't changed it too much.   Use whatever peanut butter you have on hand.  We never have crunchy so I used the smooth peanut butter.  And don't bother to go buy large flake or old-fashioned oatmeal if you only have quick oats in the cupboard.  There won't be much difference in the finished product.  This is a very forgiving recipe.   Not everyone likes sprinkles (I don't) so I leave them out if the majority of people prefer them sprinkle-less.  You could substitute chopped raisins or dried fruit for the sprinkles, but for Lori, they will have sprinkles because most 2½-year-olds adore sprinkles.  


Lori, enjoying the great outdoors.


Peanut Butter Balls with Sprinkles
½ cup crunchy or smooth peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 cup large flake rolled oats
½ cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons coloured sprinkles


Blend peanut butter and honey together in a medium bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Leave out the sprinkles if you don't like them.  

Refrigerate the "dough" 30 minutes so it will be easier to handle.

Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.  I used a tablespoon measure and they were the right size and count.  Store in covered containers in refrigerator for up to one week.  (They won't last that long!)


Makes approximately 20 balls.  




Blend peanut butter and honey together.  Looks like play dough but tastes way better!

 Mix in the remaining ingredients.  

Chill mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes and then roll into 1-inch balls.  I used a tablespoon measure to make the process easier. Keep the Peanut Butter Balls in a covered container in the frig for up to a week.


To serve, place the Peanut Butter Balls on a pretty plate.  This is one of the plates I have for Lori and Emily when they come for a visit. 


No wonder these are a favourite of Lori's.


 All ready for a visit to Nanny and Poppy's house.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dad's Washington Pie


Here's an email conversation I had with my sister, Heather, a few months ago.

Heather:Why don't you make Washington Pie. I should have suggested it back in September. Mom said that was Dad's favourite cake....you remember two layer white cake with raspberry jam in the centre, covered in icing (vanilla) and coconut - served with ice cream! Mom was making that up in her eighties. (Or keep it for next September Dad's birthday).


Lois: Ha, ha.  That is actually on the agenda.  Maybe, I will keep it for Dad's birthday.  Wish I had thought of it sooner.  I may make it sooner though, and keep it to publish next Sept.  My mouth is watering thinking about it.  I'm hungry, lol.  You don't know what cake mom used, do you.  I have several white cakes that can be used. 
 
Heather: No, I don't know but I would say it only had two, three eggs - it wasn't a 'tall' cake. The only other memory regarding that cake, Mom would sometimes buy a sponge cake and dress it up when we would go to Bowring Park for dessert. Remember the two metal plaid picnic 'baskets'? They were too heavy for me to carry. Plastic plates, cutlery, potato salad, head of lettuce, package of tomatoes, tin of mixed vegetables, salad dressing, maybe a tin of beans, full loaf of bread, block of butter, bread knife, wax paper, serviettes, a bottle of drink, salt shaker and probably that cake or Dad's cookies, and some bars.....then we would get a custard cone at the Bungalow. Not to mention the bags that contained towels, underwear, extra socks, tops, slacks and sweaters. (We used to wear our bathing suits under our clothes). And always in her purse a bar of soap and a face cloth....

Heather: I forgot to mention the table cloth!!!

Lois: You've got a memory like an elephant!  What wonderful picnics we had at the park.  And all that was dragged to the bus and through the park. 

Heather: I guess Mom and you carried the 'baskets' in. We had beach bags each, remember?

Lois: I vaguely remember the beach bags.  What did they look like? Can you remember?

Heather: I remember I had a blue cylinder shape with a beach scene...teenagers playing with a beach ball under the sun? No sure something like that. You had one too, probably pink! 
  
I'll have to translate a few of the terms used: 

custard cone: soft serve ice cream

Bowring ParkBeautiful park in City of St. John's, NL

Bungalow: "Ever since its erection in 1915, the Bowring Park Bungalow has been a popular meeting place for park patrons. In its early years, people would gather there to warm themselves by a roaring fire after a day's ice skating. For many years, a canteen was in operation, providing cool refreshment on hot summer's days. Also, the front lawn of the Bungalow has always played host to numerous concerts and festivals annually, attended by countless happy visitors. The lawn is also quite popular for sun bathing and family picnics, all amid a lush carpet of grass and many blue chip trees." Read more at: http://www.nfld.com/tourism/bowring/history.htm


And with that conversation I could bring you recipes for a whole picnic menu. But, today I'm going to make a Washington Pie which isn't pie but a cake.  As my sister reminded me, it was Dad's favourite dessert and I remember eating this after many a meal, especially on the weekends.   Today, my Father would have been 105 years old.  I wish he had lived longer.  He was only 64 when he passed away and I miss him even today.  

Back to the Washington Pie.  Traditionally, Washington Pie is a white or yellow cake or sponge cake filled with jam and dusted with powdered sugar.  But not so at our house.  Washington Pie would not have been served with such a simple topping.  Mom always spread hers with a thick slathering of a vanilla buttercream icing with a generous sprinkling of coconut to top it all off.  As a child I never appreciated Washington Pie but now it sounds like a gourmet treat. 


Washington Pie
1 recipe of sponge or yellow cake, or use the recipe below
½ cup jam, raspberry, strawberry or apricot
Vanilla Buttercream Icing, recipe follows
¼ cup flaked or shredded coconut 


This delicious Yellow Cake recipe makes two medium height layers of cake.  The original recipe is from the Canadian Living Magazine website. You can bake it in one deep-sided pan (for 30 minutes) and split into layers but it's easier to assemble if baked in two pans. You will have two layers either way.  


Yellow Cake
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sifted and remeasured cake flour
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1
½ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment or waxed paper and dust with flour.  


In large bowl, beat butter until light and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, half cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one is added. Beat in vanilla.

In separate bowl, sift or whisk together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.  With beater on low mix the flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with milk. Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; peel off paper. Let cool.  (The original recipe can be found at: Canadian Living.)

 

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons soft butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla 
1-2 tablespoons milk

Cream the sugar and butter together.  Add the vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable consistency. 

To assemble the Washington Pie: Spread the jam on the top of the bottom layer of cake.  Lay the top layer on and spread only the top of the cake with the Vanilla Buttercream Icing.  Sprinkle coconut on top of the frosting and gently press in.    If you find there is too little or too much jam or frosting adjust the amounts. 

Serves 8-12.   



Start the cake by creaming the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar a half cup at a time beating well after each addition.  Then add the eggs one at a time beating each one well into the sugar and butter.  Don't forget the vanilla.


While the butter and sugar are beating measure the cake flour and sift it.  Then remeasure the sifted flour once again.  You will see that you won't use all of the cake flour the second time you measure.  Because cake flour is quite lumpy and dense sifting aerates and breaks up the lumps giving a larger volume of flour.


Mix the remeasured cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder together.  You may use a whisk or it can be sifted together.


Once the butter, sugar and eggs have been beaten and creamed together, add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix the flour and milk on the lowest setting of your mixer. 


Divide the batter into two prepared 8 or 9-inch pans and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


When the cake is baked, let rest 10 minutes and then turn out on cake cooler.


Once the cake is completely cooled place one layer on a serving plate and spread with your favourite jam.  Use homemade jam if you have any.


Place the second layer on top of the jam and spread with a thin layer of Vanilla Buttercream Icing.  Sprinkle with flaked or shredded coconut.  Toasted coconut would make a lovely presentation as well.


See that lovely tender crumb.


The cake is best served the same day it's made but will hold up nicely for another day or two if stored in a tightly sealed container.


Save a piece for me!
 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Banana Coconut Bread


One of the best things about bananas is their availability all year round.  They don't have any specific growing season so we can eat them to our heart's (or should I say stomach's) content anytime we want.  But sometimes in our zeal to buy bananas, especially if they are on sale, we buy too many.  And so was the case with the last four bananas in the basket on my table.  They were well beyond their best before date for eating but were perfect for muffins or banana bread.  I laid them aside and started looking through my files to see what I'd make with them and settled on Banana Date Bread which is a favourite of mine.  But as you can see by the title of this post I didn't make that.  

One day went by with the bananas getting darker and musher by the hour.  I just had to get that banana bread made but then I had a dentist appointment, a doctor's appointment, another dentist appointment and work at the church.  And still the bananas languished on the counter for two more days.  If I waited any longer the bananas wouldn't be fit for cremation much less for baking.

And then I was hit with inspiration.  Well, I was really just sitting at the computer looking up the Banana Date Bread recipe when I spied the Banana Coconut Bread recipe.  Hmmm..., I thought, I haven't made that in a while

And that's all it took.  Next morning, without anymore fooling around, I made the Banana Coconut Bread.  Surprisingly, the bananas weren't too bad once they were peeled.  They were soft but not rotten (which was really good for all concerned).  So to rewrite the old maxim--never judge a banana by its peel.  

My friend, Kitty, who was a fellow teacher gave me this recipe. Her four children were particularly fond of this banana bread and she thought we (the teachers) might enjoy it as well.  She brought some to the staff room to share at recess and it was delicious.  She was also smart enough to bring the recipe to share.   Thanks Kitty!

The recipe is originally from Company's Coming Muffins and More by Jean ParĂ©.  (I'd link to their site but it's under reconstruction.) 


Banana Coconut Bread
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup mashed bananas
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour   
½ cup flaked coconut
1½  teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup maraschino cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl mix together flour, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chopped walnuts, and cherries.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar.   Add the melted butter, mashed banana and almond flavoring. Beat together until well combined.  You can use a spoon or wire whip.  No need to drag out the stand mixer for this.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients.  Stir just to combine. There may be a little flour showing but as long as most of the flour is mixed through it will be fine.  Spoon into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, and remove from pan. Cool.

Once the banana bread is cold it can be cut, but as with any quick bread, it will cut and taste better the day after it has been baked.   Serve plain or with butter.

Makes 12-16 slices.



Mix the flour, coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.


Mix in the cherries and nuts.  

Beat the eggs, sugar, banana and almond flavouring together.


Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  

Stir together until just mixed.


Make sure your loaf pan is well greased or sprayed.  If you wish you can line it with waxed or parchment paper but it should come out of the pan without any trouble with just a good greasing.


Pour the batter into the well greased loaf pan and place in the preheated 350 degree oven.


Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool thoroughly and then wrap in plastic or foil until ready to cut.


The Banana Coconut Bread cuts and tastes much better the day after it has been baked.  Can you wait that long?

So moist and tender, sweet with cherries and bananas and crunchy with coconut and walnuts.


Banana Coconut Bread with a spread of butter. 
 Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Anne's Blueberry Lemon Cake


The nights are getting colder and we've already had a night or two with light frost.  That means blueberry season is almost over.  Don has been diligently picking and our freezer is bulging at the seams with nature's free gift of blueberries. 

As Don picks, I freeze the berries so we'll have lots for the winter but I've also been using the fresh berries in muffins, pies and other desserts.  So far this year, though, I hadn't made a blueberry cake, which is odd as that's one of the first things I make. I have a recipe, I've been making for years but when we were at David's house during the Labour Day weekend, Anne had made her favourite Blueberry Cake a few days earlier and it looked good. Alas, there was only one piece left and I didn't get to taste it.  It looked nice and moist so I asked her for the recipe. 

I wasn't disappointed.  The cake is moist and packed with blueberries.  Anne mentioned that it would taste great with lemon so I added grated lemon peel and a little pure lemon extract for good measure.  I made the first cake (yes, I made two in one day) in a bundt pan and then I thought it would make a nice layer cake as well.  It turned out just marvelous as a layer cake, especially with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.  The cake can also be baked in a 9x13-inch pan.

This is now my new favourite Blueberry Cake. Here are the directions for the layer cake but you can bake it in your favourite pan. 


Blueberry Lemon Cake
1 cup butter
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Grated peel of 2 lemons, about 2 teaspoons
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 cups fresh blueberries or 2 cups frozen berries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or pan spray three 9-inch round cake pans.  Line with waxed or parchment paper for easy removal.  

In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add the lemon extract and grated lemon peel; mix to combine.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together.  With the beater on medium/low speed, add the flour in three portions to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Fold in the fresh blueberries.  If you are using frozen berries, the batter will have streaks of blue but this will not affect the cake and it is usually not very noticeable in the baked cake. 

Spread the batter into the prepared 9-inch round pans and bake the cakes for 30 minutes each or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean from the middle.  

Remove from oven when baked and let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.  Cool cakes on a cooling rack.  Do not frost until completely cool.

Makes three 9-inch round cake layers.

The cake may also be baked in a 9x13-inch pan or tube or bundt pan.  Make sure the pan is well greased and floured for easy removal of the cake.

Bake 9x13-inch cake for 40 minutes.  Check the last few minutes to make sure the cake is not burning.

Bake tube or bundt cake 55-60 minutes.  Check the tube cake about 20 minutes before the expected baking time to make it is not burning.  If the cake looks as if it will be too brown when finished baking, lower the heat to 325 degrees to finish baking.

The bundt or tube cake can be served as is or with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a simple lemon glaze.  The layer cake can be frosted and filled with a plain Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, a Swiss Buttercream, or a Cream Cheese Frosting.   Or you can use the following Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting which was spoon-lickin' delicious!


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting for Blueberry Lemon Cake
¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound icing sugar, about 4 cups approximately plus more if needed
½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 tablespoons lemon juice, approximately
Few drops lemon food colouring, optional

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  Sift the icing sugar if it is lumpy.  Gradually add the powdered icing sugar a cup at a time.  If the mixture become too stiff start adding the lemon juice.  Beat in the lemon peel and the lemon juice.  Beat until very light and fluffy.  Add a few drops of yellow food colouring, if you wish.

If the frosting is too stiff add a few drops of lemon juice or water.  If the frosting is too thin beat in more icing sugar a tablespoon at a time.

Makes enough to fill and frost a three layer 9-inch round cake.  

 
Cream the butter and sugar until fuffy and light.  Then add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  You want a light and fluffy mixture.  Beat in the grated lemon peel and lemon extract.  Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and add alternately with the milk.

To alternately add flour and milk to a batter, start with one third of the flour.  Mix well and then add one half of the milk and mix well.  Continue with flour, milk and flour mixing well after each addition.  Turn your mixer to a low setting to mix.  You don't want a flour shower and you don't want to develop the gluten because that will make the cake tough.

When the cake batter has been mixed, fold in the blueberries.  Do this with a spatula or a spoon. These are the blueberries Don picked the day before.  If using frozen berries, do not thaw.  You won't need as many frozen berries as fresh but put in as many as you think the batter will hold.  

Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared 9-inch round pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.  When baked, cool thoroughly before frosting.  

While the cake is cooling, prepare the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.  Have the butter and cream cheese at room temperature. Beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered icing sugar a cup at a time. If the icing becomes too stiff before all the sugar is added, pour in some of the lemon juice. Once all the sugar is mixed in, add the lemon peel and juice.  I added as much lemon juice as I could without making the frosting sloppy.  The frosting should be soft and billowy but firm enough to spread.  When all the ingredients have been added, beat everything until the frosting is light and creamy.  You can add a few drops of lemon food colouring if you wish.

When the cake is thoroughly cool place the bottom layer on the serving plate and frost. Repeat with middle layer.  I used just over half a cup of frosting between each layer.  Place the last cake layer on top and pile the remaining frosting on top.  Spread around the sides and over the top.  Decorate with additional fresh blueberries if desired.

Here's the first cake I made in a bundt pan.  It turned out beautiful.  I greased the pan well and then floured it.  After it cooled in the pan about 15 minutes it came out without any cake sticking to the sides.  I was quite happy about that.

Of course, I had to cut both cakes.  Delicious!
The bundt cake is great for anyone who doesn't like a sweet frosting.  I used a thin lemon glaze on the bundt but it would be delicious just as it is.

The layer cake is perfect for the sweet tooth.  

The last piece of layer cake.  
Good thing there's lots of bundt cake left. 

 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tender Pastry & A Trio of Newfoundland Jam Tarts


Pie is one of my favourite desserts.  I like all kinds--fruit, custard, cream or frozen--they're all tops in my book.  A tender, flaky crust forms the base of any good pie, regardless if it is a complicated baked fruit or custard pie or as simple as an instant pudding poured into a pie shell.  The filling is important but if you need an axe or a chain saw to get through the crust to that great filling, the pie would be considered a failure.  This Tender Pastry will melt in your mouth.  It's full of butter which gives it such a lovely flavour and a little shortening to help with the tenderness.  

Some people think a homemade pie crust is beyond their baking abilities but I don't think so.  Keep in mind that homemade pastry is sooooo much better than the frozen pie shells you can buy.  Pie crust is a matter of mixing the fat through the flour and sticking it together with a little water.  There should be sufficient water to keep the dough together but not so much to make the dough sticky.  A wet dough will be a tough pastry.  Keeping the ingredients cold helps to produce a flaky pastry.  It's also important not to overwork the dough to the point of developing the gluten.  This will also make your pastry tough and it will shrink badly when baked.   

Today I made tart shells from the Tender Pastry.  They'll be served with a variety of jam and topped with cream.  They're going to a baby shower.  

Bakeapple

Blueberries
In Newfoundland, Jam Tarts are a special treat at any table.  They show up at parties, baby and wedding showers, afternoon teas, the potluck dessert table and just about anywhere you want a dainty, individual indulgence.  Many people still make their own jams and the best tarts contain spoonfuls of these homemade preserves.  Of course any favourite jam will be delicious but I've chosen three jams made from berries native to Newfoundland.  Blueberry Jam is well-known to anyone living in North America but the other two jams may not be--Bakeapple Jam (Cloudberry) and
Partridgeberries
Partridgeberry Jam (Linginberry).  Both the bakeapple and partridgeberry grow well in the northern Newfoundland and Labrador climate.  The Bakeapple is a slightly tart, orange coloured and seed-filled berry with a mild apricot-like flavour.  The Partridgeberry is a small, very tart red berry with a flavour similar to a cranberry.   




Tender Pastry will give a great start to any pie or tart.


Tender Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour*
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon sugar, optional
½ cup cold butter
5 tablespoons cold shortening
5-6 tablespoons very cold water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together.  Cut in the cold butter and shortening until the size of peas or a little smaller.  Sprinkle the cold water over and gather into a ball.  Use only as much water as needed. The dough should stick together but it should not be sticky.  Cut the dough into two pieces and form each into a round disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill about 30 minutes before rolling out.  

You may roll the dough immediately but it should be chilled in the pie plate before baking.  

Makes 1  9-inch double crust or 2  9-inch single crusts.

*Use 1½ cups all-purpose flour and ½ cup cake and pastry flour for a super tender crust.


Mix the flour, salt and sugar together.  Cut in the butter and shortening.  You can use a pastry blender or the tips of your fingers.  The mix should be lumpy and the butter/shortening about the size of peas or slightly smaller.

Mix in the water until the dough hold together.  Make two balls of dough.  You can chill it or roll it out.  If you roll it out before chilling, chill the rolled out crust before baking.

Roll the dough out on a well floured surface.  Flour the top of the dough as well.

 Start at the middle of the dough ball and work out on each side.

Roll out the dough to about one-eighth of an inch thick or a little thicker if you like a sturdier crust.  Once the dough is rolled out there are several ways to use it.

The dough can be rolled out into two single pie crusts or used as a double crust for a fruit pie.  One ball of dough for the bottom and the other ball of dough for the top.

If you would like a crust for a custard, lemon or cream pie, it can be prebaked or fully baked so the crust will stay nice and flat.  Prebaking the crust helps keep the crust crisp when making any kind of custard pie.  You can dock (prick it with a fork) the crust but if you want to bake it with a custard filling like a pumpkin pie the filling could seep through the fork holes.  Blind baking insures you have a nice flat crust without any bubbling or any fork holes.  Line the unbaked pie crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights.  Bake at 400 degrees for 5 or 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven, remove the beans and return to oven for another 5 minutes.  If you would like the pie crust fully baked, bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

If you would prefer to make small tart shells, cut circles a little larger than your muffin or tart pans.  Fit the pastry in the pans.  I've docked these shells and baked them to make Newfoundland Jam Tarts.  These baked about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

These tart shells will be filled with a choice of jams: Blueberry, Bakeapple (Cloudberry), and Partridgeberry (Lingonberry).  Topped with a little cream these tarts are little bites of deliciousness.

To serve the tarts let each of your guests fill their own tart shells with their favourite jam.  Top with a little dollop of cream for a wonderful dessert.

Tender, flaky pastry makes each taste melt in your mouth.

Pick your favourite or eat all three!