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Skip the Valentine’s Day Hype! Just Make Cherry Pie!

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Let me say this right up front.  The Deerslayer household DOES NOT subscribe to the Hallmark-induced Valentine’s Day hype.  There is nothing romantic or sweet about flowers, candy, jewelry, cards and restaurant menus that have suddenly, inexplicably doubled in price.  Puzzling, yes.  Romantic and sweet, no! Even grocers raise the price of steaks, seafood, sparkling wines.  What the hell?  I have no doubt that St. Valentine is spinning in his grave over this travesty.

To honor St. Valentine and the spirit of the day, we will sear up some nilgai tenderloin, roast some asparagus, prepare a nice salad, and finish the evening off with some homemade cherry pie….. on February 16th!  In my book, nothing says “I love you” like nilgai tenderloin done right, beautiful seared color on the outside, juicy and oh-so-pink on the inside.

Also, Junior Deerslayer had been wanting to try her hand at baking a cherry pie.  Since my New Year’s Resolutions included both branching out with my cooking AND never passing up a worthy dessert, honoring the request to try the pie was easy. Don’t get the wrong idea.  We didn’t go outside to pick the cherries, nor did we render the fat necessary to produce the lard needed for the perfect crust.  But I did purchase the (canned) cherries from our local grocer, refer to my NEW Lard Cookbook (yes, there is such a thing) for the perfect flaky-crust recipe, use some kettle-rendered leaf lard that I received as a birthday gift (really) and commence with the pie making!

I ordered mine from Amazon but it’s available from a number of booksellers.

I was able to find canned, tart cherries, packed in water. So that was our starting point. One of my intentions for 2016 has been to practice making flaky crusts from scratch for fruit pies, quiches, pot pies, empanadas and pasties (meat pies).  Hands down, people who know pies know that lard makes the flakiest crust.  Leaf lard is the prized fat around the kidney area of an animal. I found some available online.  I was surprised by how light it was and what a beautiful, smooth dough it made.

Cherry Pie with Lard Crust

3 cans tart cherries in water, drained (water set aside)
1 to 1½ cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
zest from one orange

Your favorite prepared pie crust or pie crust recipe for 2 crust pie. This one is from the Lard Cookbook:

2½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour plus more for dusting, 2 tsp. salt, 1 cup cold and coursely chopped lard, 6 tablespoons ice cold water

1½ tablespoons butter, to dot

1 egg, beaten for egg wash
1 tablespoon granulated or raw sugar, to sprinkle

For the crust, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, two butter knives, or your fingers, cut in the lard until the mixture is a very fine crumble. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture and combine just until the mixture sticks together.  Divide the dough in half.  Form into 2 balls.  Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Prepare a work surface by sprinkling with flour, and roll out into two discs to fit your pie plate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the filling, pour cherries in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add zest and mix. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little reserved water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.

Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Brush with egg. Sprinkle crust with sugar.

Place pie on a cookie sheet in case of bubbling over.  Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

Share the love, not the hype!

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Sweet Things, Uncategorized

 

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Apricot Brandy Cake

christmas 2013, apricot cake, pan-fried heart 028Valentine’s Day is upon us.  Actually, it’s been lurking in the stores since Thanksgiving. Junior Deerslayer refers to it as “Singles Awareness Day”.  Everyone in our family has decided that it would be a sneaky move for all of us to secretly decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 16th instead.  All the cards, flowers, and candy will be 1/2 off.  The restaurants will have put away their “special occasion menus”… the ones that feature only a couple of entrees that cost about four times the regular price. There are 364 days a year that my dearly beloved can show me how much he loves me.  He lavishes me with tokens of his affection every day.  Okay, most days, pretty often, often enough. No need to run these things into the ground.

 For anyone who succumbs to societal pressure and feels the need to come up with SOMETHING before February 16th, try this delicious cake.  Save the $6 for a card, $100 for flowers, and $200 for dinner out.  Prepare this wonderful cake.  prepare a small personal note, and fix a nice dinner at home.  Priceless!

 Apricot Brandy Cake Ingredients
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cooking spray with flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 package yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup apricot brandy
Directions:
Sprinkle nuts and dried apricots over bottom of a 10 inch tube pan or 12 cup bundt pan that’s been liberally sprayed with cooking spray w/ flour.smoked pork shank, rum cake, tamales, dance, christmas 048
christmas 2013, apricot cake, pan-fried heart 026
Stir together cake mix, eggs, water, oil and apricot brandy.
Pour batter over nuts.
Bake at 325 in oven for 1 hour or until knife inserted half way between center of tube and edge comes out clean..
Cool 10 minutes in pan.
Invert onto serving plate with a lip around the edge (to collect glaze) and prick top with skewer or knife so that glaze can soak it.
Glaze
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1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup apricot brandy
  1. Melt butter in saucepan.
  2. Stir in water and sugar.
  3. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in apricot brandy.
  6. Brush glaze evenly over top and sides of cake. (It’s pretty tasty! You might want a sip or two.)
  7. Allow cake to absorb glaze.  As glaze collects in serving plate, I pour it back into the pan and reapply until fully absorbed.
  8. Repeat until glaze is used up.

This cake is even better the second day.  Good luck with that, though!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Recipes, Sweet Things, Uncategorized

 

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