Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Banana Bread

My boys and I made butter a few weeks ago using heavy cream and mason jars. It was a fun to see the cream turn to butter. I made some yummy banana bread to go with the homemade butter and have had a request for the recipe. This bread is from this cookboook.

3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts

Mash bananas and set aside. In a large bowl cream sugar and butter together. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas. In separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to first mixture and stir together. Stir in nuts. Place in two greased, 9x5 inch loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes two loaves.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blueberry Mini Pies

For my sister's Pioneer Day BBQ with my family, she asked us all to bring a pie to share. I am a nut for anything that is a novelty, so I immediately knew what I wanted to do with the pies. I have seen individual mini pies all over the internet lately, and decided that I wanted to attempt my own. I LOVE pie in any shape or form, so I was pretty excited about this little venture and thought I would pass it on to all of you.
The pie is made by lining muffin tins with foil (a must if you want the to come out in one piece). I made the foil a little wider than my muffin circle so I could wrap it over the crust at the end to prevent the edges from getting too brown, which often happen with pies. So I first lined all of my muffin tins with foil. I made 2 dozen of these little pies, so I will give you my measurements for that project, but you can totally tweak it to suit your own needs.

Second you make your pie crust (my recipe to follow, but you could just as easily buy some from the store. I used almost 8 pie crusts for 2 dozen, but they were a little on the thick side...I rolled my dough out (make sure you don't roll it too thick as there isn't much filling in these little dittys. You don't want them to taste too crusty. I then cut my circles out of the dough with a ring from a wide mouth canning jar (so scientific right?) Then place one dough circle in each muffin tin circle, pressing it down to the foil.

I then made my filling and placed a dollop of filling in each pie crust. I then took a ring from a canning jam jar ( is what I had. Use what you have) and cut out the tops of the pies. I placed one over each pie and pressed the sides down trying to seal the edges. I like the look of lattice work pies and going to try that next time I make these.

Then put some sort of vent in the top of each. I just poked holes with a fork (I was running SO late). I then sprinkled sugar over the tops of them all and folded the foil down to cover the edges of each pie. I baked mine for about 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees.
Betty Crocker Pie crust recipe for 2 crust pie (I quadrupled this):

2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbs shortening
4 to 5 Tbs cold water

1. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 Tbs at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bow) (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes to firm up the shortening slightly, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough.

3. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin.

Blueberry Filling from Betty Crocker (I used exactly this much for my pies):
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cups of blueberries
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs butter or stick margarine

1. Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in blueberries. Put inside pie shells sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with the tops of the pies and cut slits in top and seal edges. Sprinkle sugar over the tops of the pies. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

When the pies are nice and cooked to your liking (I like mine less brown, if you like it more brown, pull out the pies a little before done and pull back the foil that is around the edges and put it back in the oven to finish cooking), let cool and then carefully remove the pies from the foil. They come out pretty easily.
The funnest thing about these pies were how much the kids like them. They were easy to grab and eat while they were playing or running around. I think the kids were the ones that ate most of them.
You can make these as easy as you want them to be. With store bought filling and crust they would be a snap (maybe I should try that). It was fun to see them stacked up on the plate. Doing it all from scratch was a little time consuming, but totally paid off in the end :)