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Buttermilk Clouds

Pies, Pies....I love pies!

finished_pie by you.

Let's just get it out there. We all have something we do better than the average person. Or it is our favorite thing to do. Or it is what you do best. For me, that is baking pies. As a matter of fact I came very close to naming this blog "Pie in the Sky" because - I love to make pies...I love eating pies...I make an awesome pie...My blog template's header image is a sky drawing (I choose "Buttermilk Clouds" for other reasons which is a whole new post.)

I will probably post about pies and pie paraphernalia often. :-) And, as luck would have it, I made a pie yesterday! For the first time I actually took some photos of the different phases of making a pie.

three_apples by you.

It is fall in Illinois, and we are lucky enough to live close to Mills Apple Farm. That is the starting point for all my best apple pies. Mills is a family-owned farm that I have gone to for, I guess, 25 years or more. My husband makes fun of me because I won't get my apples anywhere else. For me, it is so much more than the apple. I enjoy the ride in the country, seeing the trees heavy with ripe apples, looking at all their homemade jams and jellies, smelling the heady aroma of hay and ripe apples, getting a gallon of fresh cider and looking at their mums and fresh cut sunflowers.

Their apples are always crisp and juicy. Perfect for eating out of hand or tucking in a pie crust. I'm not so particular on the type of apple I use. Whatever is in season will do. My last batch of pies (and I mean batch...I made six and gave pies away to the neighbors) was Jonagold. Yesterday I used Fuji and Braeburn. I do think I get a slightly better pie if I use two different types of apples, but sometimes I only have one type and it turns out great. I do choose the biggest apples I can find for making pies. Simply because it reduces the peeling time. Depending on the size, I use 4-5 apples per pie.

rolling by you.
The base for all pies is the crust. Without that, well, all you have is hot fruit. I find that people are afraid of making a crust from scratch. When, in actuality, it is extremely simple to make. Years ago I found this recipe for a mixer pie crust: crust_recipe by you.
And for many years, I actually did use a handheld mixer to make it. Flaky and tasty. Eventually I decided it was too much of a bother getting the mixer out, and started using a pastry blender. Only recently, with the addition of a food processor (welcome to the 20th century), have I started using it to cut the shortening into the flour. Now, depending on my mood, I use either the food processor or the pastry blender. Each method works, with the processor edging out the pastry blender for ease. When I make a pie with a crust on top and bottom, I use the recipe for a 2 crust pie and a 1 crust pie (total 3 cups of flour altogether ... understand?). Reasoning...I like lots of crust to work with. Other little tips/quirks:

  • I make a glass of water with ice in it first thing so it will be very cold when I add it to the mix
  • If working alone (ie my husband isn't helping me peel apples) I will make the bottom crust first, roll it out, put it in the pie pan and put it in the refrigerator then get the filling ready.
  • It truly depends on the humidity in the air as to how much water to add, so I gently toss the flour/shortening mixture after the addition of each tablespoon of ice water and when it starts to clump up and act like it will hold together good, I'm done adding water!
  • After adding enough water, I handle the dough as little as possible (gather and gently press into a ball and roll gently) because it is at this point that if it is handled too much, it will be tough and not flaky.
  • If I think ahead, I will measure out the shortening and put it in the refrigerator to chill. If not, I use it straight from the cupboard.

slicing_apples by you.
The pie filling itself is not a science. Using a mandolin (mine is a great inexpensive one from Progressive) makes slicing the apples a cinch. They come out thin and uniform. A huge bowl is done in minutes. Usually for 3-5 apples I use 1 1/2 cups-2 cups of sugar and about 1/4 cup flour. A sprinkling of cinnamon and a few pats of butter and it is done.
almost_ready by you.
My newest fad for pies is making a double crust and completely sealing the top and bottom edges together. Then I brush with the top crust with heavy cream/half & half/ evaporated milk/milk...whatever I happen to have that day. After the milk brushing I sprinkle with sugar, cut an 'X' on the top and pop it in preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. At that point I get a big spoon and push sections of the crust into the filling randomly. Return it to the oven and bake another 23-35 minutes. I usually cover the edge of the crust with foil so it won't over brown. The bonus with baking it this way is the juices from the pie rarely overflow.
juicy by you.
This method makes such a beautiful pie! All that is left to do is wait for it to cool (if you can) and enjoy a big slice. My husband likes it with ice-cream...I prefer it without. Either way, it is a taste sensation!!!

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By: Sharon Pickering | 10/30/2006 at 3:43 PM | If you want, you can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. Blogger Janet C. | 11/07/2006 7:43 AM |  

    Oh how I love apple pie! I like McIntosh apples in my pie. Thanks for all you tips.
    Like you web design and features, may barrow a few.

  2. Blogger annie | 11/07/2006 4:49 PM |  

    @Janet, I'm with you on pies. And I think apple is my all time favorite. (But as it turns out...usually my favorite is the pie on a plate in front of me!)

    Glad you like my site. It is new and I tweaked it for weeks before releasing it. A labor of love.

    Feel free to borrow away. Did you see my other blog? BlogU is a blog that helps bloggers personalize their blogs.

    BTW, I love your avatar! Great pic.

  3. Blogger Kali | 11/11/2006 7:13 PM |  

    Oh yum! Stumbled across your sites whilst looking for instructions on how to add an image to my blog header (still confused!).
    Anyway ~ I'm adding you to my favourites. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Blogger annie | 11/11/2006 7:35 PM |  

    @Kali,Glad you found my site and enjoy it! I'm having fun with it myself. I'm guessing you came here from my other blog...BlogU. I have some posts on there on installing an image in your header. In BlogU's sidebar under the 'Category Cloud' click on the word header and you will find several posts on images in headers.

  5. Blogger Sera | 11/12/2006 10:32 PM |  

    I LOVE a good homemade apple pie, especially warm with some vanilla bean ice cream - mmm, nothing better!

    I may try this for Thanksgiving. Your design is great, pictures are yummy! I came here from your other blog looking for tips to vamp up the design of my blog. I'm definitely going to add a link.

  6. Blogger Sera | 11/12/2006 10:36 PM |  

    Oh, by the way, how did you do the catagory cloud in your other blog? Did you write an entry about that? I guess I should go look. I'd really like to add that to my blog.


  7. Blogger annie | 11/13/2006 3:38 AM |  

    @Sera, glad you found my blogs! They are both a work in progress...this one being more so because it is so new.

    As a matter of fact, I have a couple of posts about the category clouds. If you have blogger beta, My Category Cloud...Finally will help. If you have 'Classic' blogger, A del.icio.us way to make a previous post list is what you may like.

    BTW, Buttermilk Clouds is 'Classic' and BlogU is 'Beta'.

    I agree with you...nothing is better than a good homemade pie!

  8. Blogger annie | 11/13/2006 3:50 AM |  

    @Sera, I forgot to mention that the cloud on this blog is from ZoomCouds.

  9. Blogger Sera | 11/14/2006 2:27 AM |  

    I tried Zoom clouds, but for some reason it only indexed one entry instead of the whole blog. I must have done something wrong. Maybe I'll check it out again.

    I'm probably moving to Blogger Beta for a lot of my content, so I'll check out your catagory cloud post. Thanks!

  10. Blogger annie | 11/14/2006 3:51 AM |  

    @sera, that is really strange. Did you happen to put ZoomClouds on a post page and not the home page.

    You know, I think I read somewhere that it may take a day or so for it to index the entire blog. Perhaps I saw that one their site or a forum.

    I would try again.

  11. Blogger Cathy Mullins | 12/22/2007 7:31 AM |  

    After seeing the movie "Waitress" I got very excited about learning to make pies. I wonder if there is a cookbook to go with that movie, that would be fantastic and tasty.
    I'll have to spend more time here so I can learn how to make great pies.

  12. Blogger annie | 12/23/2007 2:42 AM |  

    @cathy, I haven't seen that movie yet, but I will have to put it on my list.

    I have always been excited about making pies. I love them. Nothing that comes out of my oven is more beautiful.