Homebakers Collective July Challenge: Bake Your State

A little bit fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Pie

Iowa Cherry Pie

I have moved around too much to feel ownership of any state other than the state I was raised in. Iowa means a lot of things to me, but dessert-wise, it has to be pie, and cherry pie in particular. It was my birthday request every year as a kid. I remember when the cherries on the tree were ready, everyone would get together to pick them, then gather around the porch table armed with bobby pins to pit the cherries. Cherry juice would run down your forearms to your elbows until you were so sticky you had to hose off.

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter (115g), cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup lard (70g), cup into pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Combine flour, salt and sugar in food processor. Add butter and lard and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than peas. Add ice water and pulse until dough just comes together, about 5 times.

Divide dough into two pieces, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Cherry Pie Filling:

  • 2 pounds sour pie cherries, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 almond extract

Drain cherries, reserving liquid – you should have a little more than 1 cup. Place cherries in a medium bowl.

Combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Gradually add reserved cherry liquid and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and clear. Remove from heat, stir in butter and almond extract. Pour over cherries and stir to combine. Sneak a taste here.

Assemble and Bake:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out each pie crust between two pieces of wax paper, peeling the paper and flipping the crust over to make rolling easier and uniform.

Line pie plate with bottom crust. Refrigerate until ready to use. Cut top crust into strips, if you’re doing the lattice. On a square of wax paper, prepare the lattice by weaving the strips together, starting with the longest pieces in the middle and working outwards. Sandwich the lattice crust with another piece of wax paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm it up. Pour prepared cherry filling into bottom crust. Brush the edges with egg wash. Peel one piece of wax off the lattice and gently flip it over onto the pie, trying to get it centered. Crimp the pie and trim the excess pastry.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cherries are bubbling.

Look-No-Further Zucchini Bread

Bread, Muffins, Unfussy

This time of year I usually blindly pick a zucchini bread recipe to make from an online source or a cookbook so I can scratch the itch. I make it once, decide it’s not my favorite, and wait until next year to try again. This time I tested a few, tweaked the one I liked, and finally settled on this recipe. Moist, simple, not ridiculously sweet, with plenty of zucchini (in this case, the yellow variety).

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 2 cups (250g) shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just moistened.

Fold in shredded zucchini until uniform and all the flour has been incorporated. The batter will be stiff.

Scrape into prepared pan – it should fill the loaf pan 3/4 of the way up.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Tent loosely with foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, until no longer doughy in the middle.

Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out.

Makes one loaf. Makes fine muffins too.