Paula's Pie Project Blog

52 different pies in 52 weeks

Pie #62- Fudge Brownie March 17, 2013

Here’s another super easy pie to make. This recipe I made up in my head.

I made a quick pie crust from my Mom’s recipe.


  • 1 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup Crisco vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour, salt and oil with a fork. Add water and form into a ball. Roll between two pieces of wax paper. Peel top layer of wax paper off and flip other layer of wax paper and rolled dough onto a 9″ pie pan. Form decorative crust. 

Next, I had the kids  make a box of brownie mix. We put the brownie mixture into the pie crust and then baked it in the oven at 350 degrees  for 35 minutes and WHALAAAA a fun, easy dessert!

Our neighbor, Dalia, participated in the pie making this time. Henry also helped. (I think he is really beginning to like pies- or at least he is trying them more often.) This one is pretty hard not to love.

Mom's pie pastry

Mom’s pie pastry

Today's pie maker helpers- Henry and Dalia

Today’s pie maker helpers- Henry and Dalia

Dalia works on the brownie mixture

Dalia works on the brownie mixture

Ohhhh, Henry!

Ohhhh, Henry!

The brownie mixture is the filling in the pastry shell

The brownie mixture is the filling in the pastry shell

Pie #62- Fudge Brownie

Pie #62- Fudge Brownie

Dalie adds the ice cream and whipped cream toppings

Dalia adds the ice cream and whipped cream toppings

Happy bellies! Happy kids!

Happy bellies! Happy kids!



Nate devours his piece.

Nate devours his piece.

Even Ernie does't pass this one up!

Even Ernie doesn’t pass this one up!

Pie #62- A little Slice of Heaven

Pie #62- A little Slice of Heaven


Pie #56- Fudge Nut January 24, 2013

Filed under: 2013 Pie Project,Pie #56- Fudge Nut,Sweet Pies — paulaspieproject @ 4:29 pm
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On Saturday evening, our family had been invited to a dinner party for 16 hosted by Bob and Kathryn Hunter. This meant I needed to bake two pies to feed our group. Coming off of my four-hour pie from the previous post, I was desperate to find a chocolate pie that I could whip out in far less time.

A good friend of mine from my Ohio days, Lisa Blidar (Llama Lisa), sent me a little pie recipe book for Christmas this past year. Lisa and her husband Ron now live in Colorado near my two younger brothers and their families.  And if I have my way this year, I will be baking a pie with her at some point. Let’s hope it is not out of a camp trailer.

Pie cookbook Llama Lisa Blidar

Simple pie recipe

I used my mom’s crust recipe. (See below.) With the exception of the pecan garnish on top of one, these Fudge Nut pies are the same.


  • 1 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup Crisco vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour, salt and oil with a fork. Add water and form into a ball. Roll between two pieces of wax paper. Peel top layer of wax paper off and flip other layer of wax paper and rolled dough onto a 9″ pie pan. Form decorative crust. (Poke holes around rim of crust if single). Bake for 12-14 minutes at 400° or until golden brown if recipe asks for a “baked pastry shell”. Cool on a wire rack.

This is one of two pie crusts I made since I doubled the recipe.

This is one of two pie crusts I made since I doubled the recipe.

Beautiful fresh eggs from the Rudin family that went into our pies.

Beautiful fresh eggs from the Rudin family that went into our pies.

My one bowl filling. All the ingredients are in there. Note the recipe was doubled.

My one-bowl filling. All the ingredients are in there. Note the recipe was doubled.

Same filling just garnished differently.

Same filling just garnished differently.

Both pies baking in the oven. Wow. Look how high they rose!

Both pies baking in the oven. Look how high they both rose!

Pie #56- Fudge Nut

Pie #56- Fudge Nut

Ready to eat. Fudge Nut Pie

Ready to eat with ice cream!

Enjoying the pie project with Fr. Brian and the Hunter and Rudin families!

Enjoying the pie project with Fr. Brian and the Rudin and Hunter families! Thanks for a fun evening!

Personal Notes:

  • A HUGE thank you to the Hunter family for the gracious invite and delicious dinner. What a fun evening it was!
  • Thanks also to the Rudin family chickens for the tasty eggs. I will trade left-over carpet samples (to keep your chicken feet warm) for fresh eggs any time! They are liquid gold. A dozen doesn’t last long at our house.
  • Love the recipe book, Lisa! There will be more pies coming out of this little paper treasure!
  • This pie was EASY and delicious. All of the dry ingredients came straight out of my pantry with no extra trip to the grocery store needed. Between the pie crusts and the filling, this took me about 35 minutes to assemble.
  • This is another version of a chocolate pecan pie…. chocolate + pecan= soooooo good!

Pie #49- Ginger Streusel Pumpkin December 5, 2010


This pie has a really great back story. 


This summer when my family was back East, we made a special trip to Washington DC so that our boys could see our nation’s capital.  My sister Denise lives north of the city in Maryland and we stayed with her during the time we were there. 


It just so happens that one of our favorite childhood friends, Chris Taylor, lives about an hour south of  her in Virginia.  (I also made a reference to Chris in Pie #40- Green Tomato since we both miss living in Ohio.) Anyway, she is a Home Economics teacher at Swanson Middle School in Arlington. Since it is difficult for the two of them to get together during the school year, they try to meet for lunch in the city during the summer so that they can catch up and let their kids play together.  This year, Denise planned their annual lunch at the Sculpture Garden during the time that we were visiting so that I could also see Chris and meet her kids. 


These photos below are from that day.    





When Chris heard about the Pie Project and my homemade crusts, she became very excited!  Of course most people don’t get excited about a pie blog, but Chris thought it was awesome.  (I love a good fan every now and again.)  Thus the seed was planted in her mind…somehow I was going to have to show her Home Economics students how to make a pie…


Well, got to LOVE today’s technology and Skype.  Both of us were first time users, but thanks to the help of my husband Travis and her tech support staff at Swanson, we got hooked up rather quickly and easily and the seed grew into reality.


So Friday morning at 7:00 am MNT, the pie project went LIVE and I made pie with about 50 kids from Chris Taylor’s class.  (You guys were awesome, by the way!)  Chris had pre-selected the pie and recipe I was going to make.  I made one pie the night before so that I could show the students what it actually looked like since I only had about 40 minutes of class time to demonstrate the process. The cooking time alone for this pie was close to an hour.  That is why you may notice photos with two different dates.


AND THEN, this coming Monday morning, when the kids get to school, they are dividing into small groups and are going to make this very same pie in class.  Chris will be taking photos of  her students in action and will send me the digital images so that I can post them here on the blog.  We will ALL be able to check out their culinary creations!  Can’t wait for that!  I think I will have to give out an award for most beautiful pie….


One last piece of advice to the students-  PLEASE remember to double-check your measurements, ESPECIALLY on the crust.





Ginger Streusel Pumpkin Pie 

I pie Shell, purchased or home made 



3 eggs

1 can (15oz) solid-pack pumpkin

1 ½ C heavy whipping cream

½ C sugar

¼ C packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves 



1 C all-purpose flour

½ C packed brown sugar

½ C cold butter, cubed

1/3 C finely chopped crystallized ginger 


Place pastry into a 9 inch pie plate.  Trim to ½ inch beyond the edge of the plate.  Flute the edges.

In large bowl whisk the eggs, pumpkin, cream, sugar and brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.  Pour into pastry shell. 

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

While the pie is baking, in a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar, cut in butter until crumbly.  Stir in ginger.  Gently sprinkle over filling when the 40 minutes are up. 

Bake 15-25 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.


 Source:  Taste of Home- Sonia Parvu from Sherrill, NY



Here are the photos from my pie making Skype session with the Swanson Middle Schoolers.



Personal Notes:

  • My mom’ s crust recipe is the one I used for this pie. 
  • When I made the pie on Thursday night, I ended up using my kitchenaid stand mixer.  It wasn’t necessary at all.  In fact, whisking the ingredients together like the recipe states is probably just at easy and requires very little arm power.
  • I was a little short on the crystallized ginger (about 1/4 cup instead of 1/3) but it wasn’t a big deal.  The topping was still pretty amazing.
  • LOVED the taste of this pie.  Wow!  It was much better than the average pumpkin pie.  The crumb topping was so yummy and crunchy.  A perfect 10!
  • Thanks for the recipe Chris and for the wonderful opportunity to spread the love of home-made pie to your class! XOXOXOXO

Pie # 48- Butterscotch Pecan December 2, 2010

 So catching up from last week’s pie…during Thanksgiving week. 

I was the self-proclaimed maker of pies during the big holiday of feasting.  My plan was to bake three pies for Thursday’s holiday- the apple cranberry (pie #46), a homemade pumpkin (not Libby’s from the can, but pumpkin harvested from a pie baking pumpkin) and this butterscotch pecan pie. 

Tuesday afternoon, I received a photo and text message from my friend Alyssa.  (I showed her how to make a pie crust when I made Pie #42- Apple Crumb Top.)  She was at home trying to make my Mom’s pie crust for her Thanksgiving pie and was getting very frustrated because something was going wrong.   Her crust was not forming into a ball.  This is the photo she sent me. 

On Wednesday morning I made my first pie crust “service call” and went to her house to help her figure out what went wrong.  It turns out she mis-read the amount needed for the flour (she put in too much) which is why the crust was crumbly. 

Here are some photos of making pie crusts at her house.


Now the butterscotch pecan recipe.  For this one, I once again consulted my go-to cookbook  Pie by Ken Haedrich. 


 Back at home now, here are the photos of making the butterscotch pecan filling.

Alyssa sent me this photo of her butterscotch pecan pie (below) later that day.  Looks good, nice job!

 Thanksgiving dessert at my brother and sister-in-laws.






Personal Notes:

  • You guessed it, I substituted my Mom’s pie crust in again for the basic flaky crust that Ken recommends.
  • Thanks so much to Edie for being the official photographer during my time making pies with your Mom and to Emme for being such a great little helper.
  • Everybody makes mistakes…my turn now.  I actually mis-read this recipe and added a WHOLE stick of butter instead of a half.  It was too late when I realized my screw up and I did not have enough butterscotch chips to start over, so I carried on and hoped for the best.  Fortunately, the mistake did not seem to affect the taste, it only doubled the amount of fat calories that ended up on my back-side from eating multiple pieces of this pie.
  • Up until this point, I have never been a huge fan of pecan pie.  But this one, I LOVED!  It was so SWEET and delicious…I tried, but I could not stop the fork from going back for more.
  • Another 10 shows up on my rating scale.



Pie #47- Sweet Potato November 24, 2010

Filed under: 2010 Pie Project,Pie #47- Sweet Potato,Sweet Pies — paulaspieproject @ 7:23 am
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So I have always wanted to try a sweet potato pie, not because I am in love with sweet potatoes, but truly out of pure curiosity.  Being this close to Thanksgiving, I thought I would try one to start embracing the spirit of the holiday.

Living in Idaho, one would expect that we love our potatoes out here.   We have a restaurant in town called the Boise Fry Company that specializes in serving potatoes as the main course with burgers that come as the side.  At the Boise Fry Company you chose your potato- russet, gold, white, sweet, yam, purple or okinowa.  Then you chose your cut- regular, home-style, curly, shoestring or po’balls.  It is quite a novelty and if you ever make it out here to visit us, that restaurant would be first on our list and followed by dessert at the West Side Drive-In for a serving of the Idaho ice cream potato. Double yum!!

Anyway, I can honestly say I remember sweet potatoes (a.k.a. yams) being pretty gross as a kid.  My mom used to make a sweet potato casserole loaded with marshmallows on it, and it still tasted nasty.  But it wasn’t until my sister-in-law, Dalia, gave me another sweet potato recipe some years back that I have actually embraced the taste of these orange tuberous roots.  I willingly admit, that particular recipe and the one for the pie that follows is loaded with lots of butter and brown sugar.  Now, yams never tasted so good…..

Here is the link to the recipe if you want to read the reviews.

Sweet Potato Pie



2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 pound butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, butter, egg yolks, brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and evaporated milk. Mix together well.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; add 1/4 cup sugar and fold into sweet potato mixture.
Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until firm


Personal Notes:

  • Yes, it looks like pumpkin pie and tastes like pumpkin pie.  Oh my, gotta try!  And like Pie #38- Zucchini Pie which tasted just like apple pie, this sweet potato pie will have your Thanksgiving guests thinking it is pumpkin. The only difference was the texture of this pie was a little more course than the pumpkin.
  • Ok, I admit, my sweet potatoes came from a can.  I did not bake them.  The sin of it!
  • I used my Mom’s pie crust recipe (as if you didn’t figure that one out).
  • My rating- a solid 9.  Delicious!



Pie #44- Apple Custard with Orange November 5, 2010

Alright, I am little behind on the blog part of last week’s pie….

The Apple Custard pie with Orange recipe came from a cookbook that my good friend Sharon gave me for my birthday a few weeks back.    The book is called Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson.   For some reason when I first thumbed through the pages, this one immediately perked my interest and I knew I had to include it as part of the project.

About a month ago my Dad pointed out I had yet to try any of the custard pies which happen to be high on his list of favorites. He was looking specifically for a blackberry, a black raspberry, or a raspberry type custard pie recipe- none of which I have tried.  As far as the custard pies go, I have made a banana cream (#24) and a coconut cream (#1) pie and would consider both in that category due to their filling.  

Well, Dad, the berry season is over so I am afraid I can’t come up with a fresh berry pie without paying a premium from the grocery store for imported berries from Guadeloupe, so you will have to try this one.  At least it fits the season. 

Plus, it wouldn’t be fair filling your pie request, then eating it here in Boise without you.  I still can’t figure out how to ship a pie to Ohio without complete upheaval in the mail…heck, my kids can’t even carry a pie two feet without flipping it flat on its face! 

Instead of using the all-butter pastry found in the cookbook, I replaced it with my Mom’s pie pastry.  


  • 1 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup Crisco vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour, salt and oil with a fork. Add water and form into a ball. Roll between two pieces of wax paper. Peel top layer of wax paper off and flip other layer of wax paper and rolled dough onto a 9″ pie pan. Form decorative crust


Another friend of mine, Alyssa, came over last Saturday specifically to learn how to make my Mom’s pie crust.  Here are the photos from that…

And now the filling photos ….

Personal Notes:

  • This pie had a wonderful texture to it.  I chose Granny Smith apples for the filling and I loved how they baked up slightly “al dente”.
  • As far as the custard was concerned, it took a back seat to the apples.  With a true custard pie, you notice and love it for its creamy texture.  Since the custard was intermingled within the apple filling, I couldn’t appreciate it’s creamieness.
  • Dad, you might be a little disappointed if you make this one.  Taste-wise, it is wonderful.  It scores an 8 in my book.  But as far as satisfying your appetite for a creamy custard pie, this one probably won’t do it.   Next time, I will bite the bullet, splurge on the berries and then hop on a plane and hand-deliver it to you OR I can always make one during your next visit out to Boise. 🙂  Thanks for the inspiration.
  • Thanks also to Alyssa (my 6 AM running partner and un-official personal trainer) for joining me for Crust Lesson 101.  It is because of YOU and your Body Sculpting 101 class at the YMCA, that I have NOT gained 10 pounds this year!
  • And final thanks to Sharon for another great cookbook to add to my growing library.  I aspire to be as good of a cook as you some day!



Pie #43- Pumpkin October 31, 2010

Another grand idea…visit the pumpkin patch, then show Ernie’s afternoon kindergarten class how to make pumpkin pies….

This time I had one hour to make 10 pies  (Yikes! That is 6 minutes per kid.)  Luckily, I did have two other helpers.  Big thanks to Theresa and Jackie for stepping in.  Originally, I was going to buy the baking pumpkins and do the whole pumpkin pie from completely by scratch, but after my experience with the 5th grade Cub Scouts and Pie #42, I knew it would be best to pull out the can of Libby’s instead.  Here’s the recipe.

But we did make home-made pie crusts by following my Mom’s recipe. 


  • 1 cup flour + 2 tablespoons
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup Crisco vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour, salt and oil with a fork. Add water and form into a ball. Roll between two pieces of wax paper. Peel top layer of wax paper off and flip other layer of wax paper and rolled dough onto a 9″ pie pan. Form decorative crust.

Here are the photos from that crazy, pie making adventure with those ADORABLE kindergarteners.  Thanks for being a part of the project!


This is the one I baked this one at home


Personal Notes:

  • Got to love Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin.  Always tastes good in my book.
  • Each child was able to make his or her individual pie crust, but due to our time constraints my parent helpers and I had to whip up the last batch of pumpkin filling ourselves.
  • The ten pies were made and baked at school on Tuesday. The next day, the kids got to take them home to their families to share. 
  • Poor Ernie did the same thing that Nate did with his pie…flipped the whole thing over on to the ground.  Does the five second rule count when your pie lands on the school playground pavement?!
  • Since there was left over filling, I made two more pies when I got home- one, to share with my family and two, to share with the PM kindergartens at their Halloween party on Thursday.