Today’s National Pie Day
To bake, or not to bake
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CAPTION: The American Pie Council’s new “America’s Best Pies: Nearly 200 Recipes You’ll Love” is a compendium of America’s best of the best pie recipes from the American Pie Council (APC)/Crisco National Pie Championships. Kate Stewart Rovner’s recipe for Lemon Swirl Cream Cheese Pie (lower right), which took “best of show” honors in the amateur division of the 2010 contest, is in the book, along with other winning recipes from past competitions. To purchase the cookbook, visit the APC Pie Shop at www.piecouncil.org/PieShop, or check out on-line source such as www.amazon.com.)
Today is National Pie Day, so why not make a pie, or its closest cousin – a tart? Besides a pie being deeper than a tart and pie being served directly from a pan versus being unmolded out of some sort of ring, they are pretty much the same. Both have a crust and a filling, and although various kinds of pies have a top crust, many do not. Pies and tarts have another thing in common, too. Some pies and tarts are baked before serving, while others are not baked at all. So, if you’ve not made a pie in a while, today’s a good day to do it, especially with the winning recipes you’ll find here. First, we have Kate Stewart Rovner’s Lemon Cheese Pie, which won “best of show,” amateur division, in 2010’s 16th Annual American Pie Council (APC)/Crisco National Pie Championships. Kate’s pie will remind you of lemon cheesecake, except it won’t collapse during baking as so many cheesecakes do. If you like Kate’s recipe, you will surely not want to miss owning The American Pie Council’s new “America’s Best Pies: Nearly 200 Recipes You’ll Love” cookbook, where Kate’s recipe joins 200 other best of the best pie recipes from other APC championships. Every pie baker should own this book, including anyone who aspires to entering the contest with a pie of his or her own at the next APC event, scheduled to take place in Orlando, Florida April 26-28. (Those wishing to compete must submit entries by 11:59 a.m. Eastern Time on March 28, 2013 and registration fee(s) must be received by April 4, 2013. For details visit www.piecouncil.org/Events/NationalPieChampionships.) The next recipe, for Perfect Pear Tart, comes from our friends at Harry & David. The tart doesn’t need baking – not even the crust, which is made with Harry & David’s buttery Vanilla Shortbread Cookies. For its ease of preparation and creative way of using delicious Harry & David world-famous Royal Riviera Comice pears, this recipe is deemed a winner, too. Today is National Pie Day – and aren’t you glad?
Lemon Swirl Cream Cheese Pie
Best of Show, Amateur Division
16th Annual American Pie Council (APC)/Crisco National Pie Championships
by Kate Stewart Rovner, Plano, Texas
Courtesy “America’s Best Pies: Nearly 200 Recipes You’ll Love (All the Best Pies from the National Pie Championships),” by the American Pie Council with Linda Hoskins
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CAPTION: Kate Stewart Rovner, from Plano, Texas, swept away the competition at the 2010 National Pie Championships with her luscious Lemon Swirl Cream Cheese Pie, which was chosen “best of show” in the amateur division. The American Pie Council “is the only organization committed to preserving America’s pie heritage and promoting American’s love affair with pies.”
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup (½ stick) butter cut into small cubes
Vanilla Wafer Crumb Crust
1½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¾ cup toasted almonds, finely ground
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons melted butter
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
Reserved lemon curd
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
About 12 to 15 fresh raspberries
1 lemon, cut into thin slices and quartered
Prepare Lemon Curd*: In a 1½ quart saucepan, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Whisk in eggs and butter. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently for 7 minutes or until curd is thick. Remove from heat and use a food mill or sieve to strain curd into a small bowl. Remove ½ cup of lemon curd, reserving remaining lemon curd. Press plastic wrap directly onto surfaces. Cool 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with Crisco No-Stick spray.
Prepare Vanilla Wafer Crumb Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to toss together vanilla wafer crumbs, almonds, lemon zest and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of prepared pie plate. Bake for 12 minutes on bottom oven rack. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat at low speed until incorporated. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and lemon extract. Beat in reserved lemon curd. Pour into baked crust. Dollop remaining ½ cup lemon curd onto filling and swirl into filling with a small knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until center is nearly set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare Garnish: In a chilled medium mixing bowl, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla with a hand-held electric mixer, starting at lowest speed and increasing gradually each minute, until stiff peaks are formed. Using a #32 tip, pipe whipped cream decoratively around border of pie. Decorate with fresh raspberries and lemon slices. Refrigerate until serving time.
*Kitchen Ade Note: When I’m really short on time, I’ve found Harry & David’s Lemon Curd an excellent substitute for homemade. One (10-ounce) jar was just right for this recipe.
Perfect Pear Tart
Recipe courtesy Harry & David, www.harryanddavid.com; 800-547-3033
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CAPTION: Harry & David’s Royal Riviera pears are good eaten on their own or made into a no-bake “Perfect Pear Tart,” which uses Harry & David Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (lower right) for its crust.
1 (8-ounce) box Harry & David Vanilla Shortbread cookies
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 (8-ounces) packages Harry & David Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 Harry & David® Royal Riviera Pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (11.5 ounce) jar Harry & David Pear Preserves, heated
3 tablespoons Harry & David Fruit Rub
Combine cookies and butter and press into bottom of tart pan*. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together, add mixture as next layer. Place in refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. Dip Royal Riviera® Pear wedges into heated preserves. Lay pears on top of cream cheese mixture in pinwheel design. Sprinkle Harry & David® Fruit Rub on top to add a bit of sweet crunch. Place a spoonful of whipped cream in center if desired. (For an alternative finish, caramelize fruit rub on top of tart with a kitchen blowtorch right before serving.) Serves 10. *Kitchen Ade Note: A 9.5-inch tart pan, with a removable bottom, works well for this recipe.