Driving back to Colorado Springs after a week in New Jersey, I [Dale] decided to stop in Massachusetts to visit a friend on Cape Cod Bay. After a delicious meal of lobster we’d chosen from a glass tank, we visited the King Caesar house, an opulent Federal-style-mansion built by a wealthy sea captain in 1809.
There were beautiful woodcarvings throughout the house. On the bedposts and stair case banisters, pineapples were featured among carved leave and vines. The tour guide said the pineapple was a symbol for hospitality. That reminded me of my friend’s graciousness in receiving and entertaining me. [Dale]
Pineapple Sour Cream Cream Pie
Dale and I are in the process of gathering original recipes for whole menus, and this is my favorite recipe. [RuthAnn]
You will need:
1 baked pie crust, 1/3 cup Cornstarch, 1 1/2 cup Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 5 Egg Yolks, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1 cup Sour Cream, 8 oz. Crushed Pineapple, 1/2 cup Milk
1. Make Pie crust (see below Pie Filling)
2. Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium sized saucepan and stir.
3. Add the five (lightly beaten) egg yolks, milk, sour cream, lemon juice and the pineapple to the sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and boils. Stir constantly.
4. Cook one more minute, then add the vanilla. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell and cool.
Expanding our Understanding: The Perfect Pie Crust
Making a good pie crust isn’t as difficult as some people would have you believe. It is fairly easy if you keep two principles in mind: 1. Keep all the ingredients cold, 2. Handle dough as little as possible.
A good pie crust is flaky, not crumbly. There’s a difference. Flaky means that after it’s baked, the crust has tiny layers. When you tear it, you can see thin flat air pockets between the layers of dough.
Keeping things cold means storing butter, shortening and lard in the refrigerator. Never use butter that’s at room temperature. On hot summer days, you might even want to chill the flour. The water you use must be ice cold. Tap water will not give you the results you desire. I have a marble rolling pin, and I store it in the refrigerator also.
The low temperatures keep the fats from melting into the flour while you are working with it. You don’t want the flour and fats thoroughly mixed. That will give you something the consistency of cookie or shortbread dough. You want the fats and flour to remain separate but held together by the water.
I find my food processor to be ideal for cutting the fats into the flour, but you can also do it with two dinner knives or a wire pastry blender. Cut the fats into half teaspoon pieces. Pour all the ingredients into the food processor bowl, and process until the fats are in pieces roughly the size of a corn kernel.
Add the ice cold water and pulse a few more times. Grab a fist full of the mixture and squeeze it. If it doesn’t hold together, add more water and pulse again.
When the dough is the right consistency, turn it out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half and make two disc-like pieces. Wrap these with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for two or more hours. The dough needs to rest in order to relax the gluten and lower the temperature again.
After two hours (or even the next day) roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll from the center of the disk outward, constantly turning the disk around. If it does not move, add a bit more flour to the work surface. You should be able to see small flakes of butter in the rolled out dough. If the finished shape is not round the first time, sprinkle it with a little water, wad it into a ball again and return it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After you have rolled the dough out successfully, lay your pie pan on top to see if it is the correct size and shape. If all but a little bit is right, you can patch it together after it’s in the pan. Fold or roll the pastry up and place it into the pie pan. Trim the edges and moisten the trimmings with water and press them onto the places that didn’t quite fit.
In the oven the fats will melt, the water content in the fats will turn to steam and push the layers of flour and water apart to create tiny air pockets. This is what makes a flaky pie crust. And there you have it—the perfect pastry crust. The following recipe works for a two crust, nine or ten-inch pie:
Ordinary Pastry Dough
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 6 tablespoons Shortening
1 teaspoon Salt 1/3 to 1/2 cup Ice Water
6 tablespoons Butter Flour for dusting
Makes 2 pie crusts.
Food for thought:
Most of us know at least one person who is hospitality personified. A friend I work with in our church library is always inspiring me with descriptions of what she does to prepare for her latest batch of company. She cooks simply, but often makes favors to liven up each place setting. One time she made woven paper hearts attached to miniature cups full of M&M’s.
Hospitality used to be a way of life for every one. But now many of us hesitate to open our homes to others, especially strangers. God, however, wants us to be “given to hospitality”(Titus 1:8.)
Just as pineapple is both sweet and sour, hospitality can also be sweet and sour. We feel down; we’re not used to entertaining, or we lack confidence about our cooking.
Practicing the meal beforehand is the key to removing glitches, and count on it! Inviting friends for dinner will lift our own spirits, as well as theirs.
May we continue to grow in this area until we can say, “You are as welcome as the flowers that bloom in my garden. [RuthAnn]
Tip: To make people feel more welcome, open your front door ahead of time, so they can step right in.
Bonus Easter tip: The liturgical colors for Easter are white and gold. So you might want to decorate your table with those colors. (See the picture of white roses on the first blog.)