Pie Baking and New Articles for Well Fed

Sorry there was no meal plan this week. I didn't cook this week during our spring break visit to California, though I did stretch my baking skills by whipping up a couple pies.

Ironically, I embarked on my pie-baking project to break my reliance on store-bought pie crusts (expensive and full of unnatural ingredients), but I ended up using store-bought cherry pie filling. Canned cherries cost $5 per 15-oz can, and my recipe called for four cans' worth . . . yeah, I don't think so.

My amped-up rollout-cookie skills helped significantly when it came time to roll pie crust. With chilling, patience, flour, and wax paper, I managed not to make a mess, although I think I developed the gluten too much. Still, I didn't have a food processor this time around; next time it might be easier to keep the pastry tender.

Does baking pies from scratch fit within a healthy diet plan as well as a frugal one? It does allow you to control the ingredients in your desserts, making your treats more wholesome or lower in fat and calories (or both).

I posted a couple of new articles on the Well Fed Network recently, too. Check these out:

Plan Ahead to Eat Smart on Fit Fare

Shhh! Food Network Infiltrates Social Networks with Food2 on Edible TV


  1. Well, somehow I think you're probably still staying somewhat on the "natural" side of things going with a store-bought pie filling. On the topic of crusts though, have you tried a pat-in-the-pan type crust? They're ridiculously easy to make and with the right recipe, actually turn out rather delicious.

    I'd have to say you certainly can inexpensively make pies from scratch, and still stay at least moderately healthy. (A little "bad" now and then probably keeps us eating healthier for the majority of our food intake, anyhow!) I've never actually calculated the cost of my favorite pie crust recipe, but I suspect it's rather low -- perhaps in the range of 50 cents per crust. If one watches for good prices on pie fillings, it's not unreasonable to keep your total pie cost under $2.

  2. I have done a pat-in-the-pan crust! I actually used the recipe from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. My version has you freeze the crust for 30 minutes and then bake for less time with pie weights, but the version here has the same ingredients: http://www.cookscountrytv.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=7706

    I love the buttery taste of that crust, as will anyone who enjoys rugelach cookies. It's the most flavorful of the pie crusts I've made in recent memory, and it's the crust I used for the two shoofly pies I made this past month. I opted for a different crust with the cherry pie, though, because I wanted a lattice top.

    Considering I was going to use canned cherries anyway, you're right, it wasn't really much of a leap to ready-made pie filling. I wouldn't go there for apple pie, as I always find canned apples mushy, but cherries hold up well I think.

    I do think that a homemade treat beats storebought candies and baked goods both on cost and health. If you're going to have some (and who ISN'T??), have a little of something delicious instead of a dozen dry processed cakes.

    And pies for under $2? Awesome!

  3. The one that I use the most is from Flora's Recipe Hideout: http://www.floras-hideout.com/recipes/recipes.php?page=recipes&data=p/Pat-in-pan_Pie_Crust

    About the only modification I suggest is not using quite as much salt as recommended in the recipe. The crust turns out quite nice -- almost a cookie-like taste and texture. It's particularly good with cream pies :-)

    Agreed RE: apple pie -- canned apples can tend to be anything but delicious!

  4. Thanks for the pie crust recipe and tips!