Archive for June, 2013


Or is it a finger in every pie? I’m not sure and who cares because these hand pies are outrageously delicious!

The host for the June Daring Bakers Challenge is Rachael from Pizzarossa and she asked everyone to roll out the crust and bake some pie. I urge you all to go visit her site for some wonderful pie ideas. The crack pie (from Milk Bar fame) is really a winner, but it should be called fat pie since that is what happens when you can’t stop yourself from eating it. |I really love baking pie and had a lot of grand ideas of all the pies I would make this month. Except that life got in the way. I was baking croissants like crazy for a school function and have been baking a lot of vegan food for a close friend. I then developed a nasty sinus infection which was accompanied by a headache that wouldn’t stop. And the flood (and state of emergency). So I had to let a few things slide. Like Pie. I think I will make a plan to bake a pie once a week this summer. There are a lot of recipes out there to try , and to invent.  In particular, I own a book called “Farm Journal’s complete pie book” published in 1965 which contains 700 pie recipes that I would love to tackle. Maybe not all 700 but a few at least…. So on the pie (s) I did bake.  Luscious Saskatoon berry hand pies. DSC_2733

Never heard of a Saskatoon berry? Neither did I until I moved to western Canada. They are similar to a blueberry but with a little huckleberry flavor thrown in. Not too sweet and very fleshy too (where a blueberry is more squishy). I love them because when you cook them they still hold their individual shape instead of popping and turning into one big mass. I had to empty out my freezer last week and found some hand picked Saskatoon berries (courtesy of my friend Heidi) from last fall. Oh, the excitement. If you are lucky enough to find frozen Saskatoon berries at the market, buy them!  Fresh or frozen blueberries would work just as great. You know what? ANY fruit would work great in this recipe.

Okay, so what’s the big deal about pie anyway? Well, it’s all in the crust. Which is why so many people are afraid to make it. A bad crust is well, bad, but a great crust is heaven. My advice? try a few different recipes until you find the one that you are comfortable with and then make it a bunch of times. All of sudden pie dough is really simple to make and to handle. The best tip of all? Have everything cold. It makes the whole process so much easier. Now, there are MANY dough recipes out there. Really flaky pie crust is achieved using lard or shortening while a rich pate brisee is made using all butter. A good medium is using half shortening and half butter. Whatever you are using cut it up into small pieces and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes first. Remember, cold. I personally like to use ice cold vodka instead of water in my dough. I believe it makes a better crust (along with a little vinegar). Pie dough comes in all shapes and sizes though; crushed cookies mixed with butter, oil based dough, cheese based, coconut, chocolate, meringue, pretzel crumbs, crushed cereal…. you get the idea. Any special equipment? While a food processor makes the entire process take just about 1 minute, a pastry cutter works great too. Two butter knives work just as well, it just takes a little while longer to cut the fat into the flour. Pie dough also freezes quite nicely, so when you make some it’s not a bad idea to prepare some extra and wrap well to place in the freezer for a later use.  I remember my mom always taking the scraps of pie dough and smearing them with butter and cinnamon sugar to bake off in the oven as a treat for us kids. Memories… like the corners of my mind….

This particular pie dough is made with flour,  butter, sour cream and a touch of baking powder. No liquid. The “letter folding” technique when you roll out the dough also makes such a tender, high and flaky pastry. It really is divine. Bake On!!

Pastry Dough

  • 2 cups (8.8 oz/ 241 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons/8 oz /227 g) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup(4 oz/ 113 g) cold sour cream


  • 2 Cups (8 oz/227g) Saskatoon berries, fresh or frozen (or blueberries/blackberry/raspberry)
  • 1/4 Cup (1 3/4 oz/50g ) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca (or cornstarch or instant clear- gel)
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice

* 1 egg (beaten) and some sanding sugar for the topping . This step is optional but the egg wash gives the pastry a lovely golden color when baked. The sprinkling of sugar is purely decorative but a nice touch.


Make the pastry dough:

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, working it  to make a coarse mixture. Leave most of the butter in large, pea-sized pieces. If using a processor use the pulse button to cut the butter in (The somewhat large pieces of cold butter will create steam when it goes in the oven which makes for a flaky pastry).DSC_2717 Stir in the sour cream. The dough will be crumbly. Don’t panic. . Turn it out onto a floured work surface, and bring it together with a few quick kneads.

Roll it into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Dust both sides of the dough with flour, and starting with a shorter end, fold it in three like a business letter. Flip the dough over, give it a 90° turn on your work surface, and roll it again into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Fold it in three again.

Wrap the dough, and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.



Make the filling:

Place all the ingredients in a small pan set over medium heat. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature.


Preheat the oven to 425°F; place a rack on the middle shelf. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take the dough our of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes so it is easier to handle. Roll the dough into a 14″ x 14″ square.  Cut out sixteen 3 1/2″ squares.DSC_2729

 Divide the filling among eight of the squares, using about a heaping tablespoon for each. Brush some of the beaten egg along the edges of each filled square. Cut a little vent into the each of the remaining eight squares so that steam can escape while baking. Top each filled square with a vented square, and press firmly  along the edges with the tines of a fork  to seal.  Transfer the pies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.  Brush the top of each pie with the remaining beaten egg, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.


 Bake the pies for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or you will scald the roof of your mouth. Enjoy!



This amazing recipe is from King Arthur Flour. Can I tell you how much I would love to work in their test kitchen….


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DSC_2692when it rains, it pours… especially here in Calgary, Alberta. The rain is so bad that we are under a state of emergency. Most of downtown Calgary is underwater as well as the zoo and 23 surrounding neighborhoods. While I am less than 1/4 mile from the river we luckily live up on the hill so we are just fine. I just haven’t been able to get an outside line to make any calls since yesterday, but I can still receive, so this is just a minor inconvenience. Most roads and highways are closed at one point or another too. the good news is that the sun is actually out today – yeah! And so are all the mosquitoes….

Now onto bread! this is an easy and oh so delicious flatbread that Elizabeth (blog from our Kitchen) suggested for the Babes and us buddies. It is a very wet dough that is shaped long and flat with ridges. A very interesting wash of baking soda, flour and water then gets brushed over the dough before adding seeds. All I can say is we loved it. Including my 7 yr old. Please, please, please go to Elizabeth’ site and see her video on the kneading technique. This is a great bread to make by hand. I wish I had. Next time. I have been struggling with a painful sinus infection and took the easy way out with my trusted stand mixer. It was so easy to put together (but the dough was very slack). Traditionally the bread has nigella seeds sprinkled on it, which are little black seeds with a lovely onion flavor, but since I didn’t have any I used black sesame seeds, golden flax seeds, course salt  and a generous sprinkling of sumac. Sumac is a middle eastern spice with  bright lemony flavor and a dark reddish color. It  worked so well with this.DSC_2687

Elizabeth baked hers on the BBQ but, again, the rain stopped me from trying that. So I baked it on the stone in the oven at 400F for about 20 minutes. Both breads were gone that night. Seriously. We had it along side of a side topped with roasted asparagus and a preserved lemon vinaigrette , sprinkled with some more bits of preserved lemon. Perfect.


Bake On!

  • 5 gm (1 1/2 tsp) active dry yeastBBBuddiesJune2013
  • 360 gm (1 1/2 c) water, at 90F
  • 60 gm  (1/2 c) 100% whole wheat flour
  • 360 gm (2 3/4 c) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 gm ( 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 6 gm (1 tsp) salt
  • nigella seeds (and/or sesame (black, blonde or brown), poppy seeds or flax seeds)

Romal Sauce

  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 80 gm (1/3 c) water

Pour the water into a largish bowl. Whisk in the yeast. Add the flours, baking powder and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Kneading  by hand:

Turn the dough out onto an UNfloured board.  Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Please do not be tempted to skip this step.

Using both hands on either side of the dough and thumbs resting on the top in the center, lift it up and flip it over in the air before plopping it back down on the board. Fold the dough in half away from you as you plop the dough down. Keep repeating until the dough is smooth. Every so often, use the dough scraper to clean the board. Stretching the dough is desired on the turns. But this won’t start happening right away. (Please look at this video for clarification.) When the dough is smooth, place it in the clean mixing bowl (there is no need to oil the bowl). Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in a draft-free area to rise to double.

By machine:

Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low for 10 minutes until smooth (It will still be slack though). Place in a clean bowl and cover. Set aside to rise until doubled (about 1 hour)

Prepare the sauce :

Whisk flour, baking soda and water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scatter a light dusting of flour on the board and gently remove the risen dough onto it. Cut the dough in half. Form each piece into a ball and place well apart on the cookie sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel  allow to rise to double in a draft-free area. (about 1 hour)DSC_2690

Brush each round with the sauce.Dip your fingers in the sauce and dimple the rounds down to form two ovals with lengthwise furrows. I gently stretched the dough and then used my fingers to make the lengthwise grooves. Brush again with the sauce and then sprinkle with seeds. Let rest for 45 minutes.

Put a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 400F

When the bread is puffy place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!


Please make sure that you visit all of the BBB’s to see there wonderful creations

Bake My Day – Karen

Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie

blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth

Feeding my enthusiasms – Pat

girlichef – Heather

Life’s A Feast – Jamie

Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya

Lucullian Delights – Ilva

My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna

Notitie Van Lien – Lien

Paulchens Foodblog – Astrid

Provecho Peru – Gretchen

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