Cooking / Food

Baking Orgy

When I was much younger and more innocent that I can believe, looking back, my sister and I used to hold what we called baking orgies. About once a month, we’d spend practically the whole weekend making cookies, pies, bread, and whatever caught our fancy from the collection of cookbooks in the house (this was before internet, where I now find most of my recipes). It was not unheard of for us to make a dozen dozen cookies, in a half-dozen varieties. We competed to create more complex recipes, and ones the books said were hard to accomplish. Which is why, for instance, I know how to make angel food cake from scratch.

Baked goods

The fruits of my labors: kolache, rye bread, and blackberry pie.

Yesterday, I did an abbreviated version of a baking orgy. For one thing, I didn’t have all day, I had until about one pm. For another, unlike when I had a large family to feed, there are only two of us here. We really don’t need endless baked goodies. But I had plans, involving kolaches, and a pie. I had never made him a pie, in the year I’ve been here, and a girl has to prove herself, sometimes.

Blackberry Pie lard crust

Blackberry Pie

The kolache dough recipe I used is here. It looked to me like a rich yeast dough, and one that would taste similar to the kolache’s we’d tried last week at the Kolache Factory. I was correct, and the process offered me no surprises, which was good.

The pie crust became the surprise of the day. In all my thirty years of baking, I’d never used lard in pie crust. I knew it was supposed to be better, and I’d wanted to try it, but it wasn’t something I had easy access to. Here, we have a 5lb bucket of lard in the refrigerator. It was time to do it.

2-Crust 9″ Pie Crust

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ c lard
  • ¼ c ice water

Cut the lard into the flour and salt until pea-sized (I use a pastry blender, but fingers work, too). Slowly dribble the water in, mixing gently with a spoon, until dough forms ball. Turn out onto floured board. Cut in half, shape into two balls, and roll out.

I have a really nice antique rolling pin I picked up, this thing has some heft to it. It made short work of this super tender crust.

Wooden rolling pin

A beautiful antique, heavy rolling pin. Worked like a dream.

Because I wanted to do a struesel topping on this pie, I rolled out both crusts, but rolled one up with saran wrap and refrigerated it for another project. I settled the other crust into the pie plate. I then took a quart of frozen blackberries and tossed them with ¼ c sugar and ¼ c flour (I could have done a bit more flour, they were very juicy!) before putting them in the crust. Then I put a couple handfuls of struesel on top. I keep a big bag of that in the freezer ready for use on coffee cake, apple crisp, or what-have-you.

The pie went in the oven at 400 for fifteen minutes, then reduced to 350 for another 35 minutes.

Savoury kolache fillings

Kolache fillings

Based on the kolache’s we had tried at the Kolache Factory, we’d gotten some ideas about what we wanted to make ourselves, and we happened to have some things on hand to try, too. From left to right in the picture is: Bacon, cream cheese, and chives; smoked sausage and saurkraut; and mushroom, cheese, and pepperoni. Not pictured is the apple filling. We had a can of ‘southern fried apples’ that was in the pantry when I arrived, so we chopped those up without their juices and used them. They were not as sweet as apple pie filling would have been, so we will repeat that.

making kolache

Shaping little proto-sandwiches

Here you can see me filling some of the rye dough with the sausage and saurkraut. We haven’t tasted this yet, but I imagine they will be very hearty and filling. Before there were sandwiches, meats and fillings inside dough were the way to go for meals on the go. Since the recipe above made 16 kolaches, and the rye I used to make 4 more filled balls, I froze the bulk of it, to be fast lunches for us later when I’m too busy to cook.

Baked Bacon

Baked bacon. 20-25 minutes at 400deg. Perfectly crispy and good.

Just because, I had baked some bacon, and we wound up chopping two strips of this and mixing with about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese and a handful of chopped chives for filling, It was so good! Baked bacon is great for easy, crispy, non-burned bacon, with lots of grease to reserve for cooking in.

sugar pitcher

Life Hack: store your sugar in a pitcher. It pours beautifully and eliminates the need for a funnel.

 

Oh! I didn’t say… the pie crust came out melt-in-your-mouth tender. Just exquisite. No lard flavor, and oh, my… I’m making that again and again.

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3 thoughts on “Baking Orgy

  1. Pingback: Coconuts and Plums | Cedar Writes

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