It’s March 14th and that means it’s PI DAY (3.14). Therefore, it’s only right to celebrate by making and eating some pie, right? I have a whole subcategory of pie recipes in Bready or Not, but let’s highlight some favorites.
Om nom nom! #SFWAPro
These Maple Pecan Pie Bars offer all the goodness of pecan pie in a form that is 1) more readily portable, 2) keeps well for up to a week, 3) freezable.
Oh, and did I mention these are DELICIOUS? They seriously are. My dad is a native Alabaman and he knows pecan pie and pecan in all forms. He LOVED these bars.
The base is shortbread, and atop that is a just-right thickness of pecans in syrup. This avoids the usual butt-ton of corn syrup that other recipes use and relies on a combo of maple syrup and brown sugar. Which is… maybe healthier? Kinda?
What matters to me, though, is that it tastes good. The maple syrup adds the right sweetness here to complement the nuts.
You don’t have to use pecans here, either. You could certainly try walnuts, cashews, or a combination. Do go for “softer” nuts, though, to make it easier to cut the bars.
I froze a bunch of pecan bars between layers of waxed paper in a freezer container. They thawed again with no difference in taste. They also keep well for at least a week, making these a good candidate for shipping.
As my dad can attest, these bars are perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert. While you could eat them along with vanilla ice cream, they are good eaten out of hand. Heck, you can even zap them in the microwave if you want them warmed.
However or whenever you eat them, these Maple Pecan Bars will be delicious.
Modified from Bake or Break.
Bready or Not: Maple Pecan Pie Bars
These Maple Pecan Pie Bars offer the deliciousness of pecan pie in a portable, delicious hand-sized bar. These bars keep for up to a week and also can be frozen for later enjoyment.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for a few minutes
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups pecans (or mixed soft nuts like walnuts or cashews)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 13x9-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly apply butter or nonstick spray along the bottom and sides.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and use a pastry blender or a fork to mash it down into small crumbles. The overall mix will feel sandy, but it'll hold together after baking.
Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan. Use some wax paper and a heavy glass to compress the crumbs.
Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Set aside as you make the filling.
Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, melted-and-cooled butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt, stirring until combined. Stir in the pecans to coat.
Pour filling over the partially baked crust. Bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is set.
Cool bars to room temperature and then use the overhanging parchment to lift the contents out to cut into bars. Store in a sealed container for up to a week, or freeze bars for later enjoyment.
OM NOM NOM!
It’s my husband’s birthday, so I’m sharing a dessert that he looooves.
This recipe laces maple sugar into every layer: the galette dough, the thick maple paste for the pears, and as a golden accent and perfect crunch for the top of the galette.
This is remarkably easy to make, too. Peeling and coring the pears is the biggest hassle. I made the dough a day ahead of time, which made the assembly part go pretty fast.
I modified this recipe from one found in this incredible cookbook called Maple by Katie Webster. Seriously, if you love maple used in dishes for any meal of the day, get this cookbook!
This galette is one of the three recipes I melded together to create my Maple Apple Pie (aka Voltron Pie). Specifically, I tweaked the maple-lemon paste for the filling and ported it over. I’m pretty certain that such a potent maple mix can improve anything. Maybe it can inspire world peace. I dunno.
In the case of this galette, though, I say give a piece a chance.
Bready or Not: Maple Pear Galette
This pear galette is maple-infused majesty, a pie without a pie pan! Modified from the fantastic cookbook MAPLE by Katie Webster.
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons maple sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 to 6 Tablespoons ice water
- 1 vanilla bean OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon maple sugar, and salt. Add butter and work into dough so that the butter is down to pea-sized chunks. Add just enough water to incorporate as dough, smearing butter chunks in the process. Shape dough into a disk and shroud in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place parchment paper on a large rimmed baking sheet.
In a large bowl, gently stir together the vanilla (bean or extract), lemon juice, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 cup maple sugar; it will form a thick paste. Gently stir in the pears to coat. Expect the mixture to become more liquid as it sits with the pears in it.
Use flour to lightly dust a large work surface. Roll out the dough to at least a foot diameter circle. Transfer it to the prepared parchment paper on baking sheet; the dough might hang over the edges for now, but that's okay.
Arrange the pears in a circular pattern in the center; leave a 2.5 to 3-inch border. Scrape the rest of the maple paste over the pears. Fold the dough inward, with the center still exposed. Brush the egg over the top and sprinkle on the maple sugar.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles. Let cool before cutting.
OM NOM NOM!
This pie is my own original creation. I hacked together three existing recipes and amped up the maple to make something totally new. When I told my husband about how I melded everything, he said, “Oh, so it’s a Voltron pie.” That’s now our nickname for this Maple Apple Pie.
Maple sugar is the key ingredient in every step, but it’s just enough to embody the flavor without it going overkill. I highly recommend buying a big ol’ container of maple sugar–trust me, if you want to follow along with my recipes, you’ll go through it eventually. This is the brand I use:
The most amazing thing about this? The filling sauce. I borrowed and modified it from a pear galette recipe (which I’ll feature this fall) from the cookbook Maple. It’s really more like a paste in texture, grainy and strong with a lovely combo of maple and lemon. You’ll want to lick the bowl.
This pie smells glorious. It’s like autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas. And the taste… well. My husband adores my Caramel Apple Pie and considers it his all-time favorite.
Or it was, until he had Voltron Pie.
That’s right. This maple-filled pie is the new champion in the Cato household.
Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie
A Bready or Not original. This Maple Apple Pie is infused with maple sugar through every layer. If you love apple pie and love maple, this pie is your destiny.
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon maple sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons (1/2 cube) unsalted butter, cold
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or canola oil
- 3 to 5 Tablespoons ice water
- 4 to 5 Granny Smith apples
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla pod, scraped
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup maple sugar
- Crumb topping:
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold
Combine crust ingredients. Work in butter until it is just pea-sized, and use only as much water as needed to make the dough cohesive. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or a few days.
Roll out dough to equal thickness and place in pie dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while preparing the filling, or freeze for several days.
Preheat oven at 375-degrees. Peel and core apples and slice to 1/8s or smaller. Toss them in a light dusting of flour to prevent sticking. Place apples in pie crust on a cookie sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, lemon juice, flour, and maple sugar; it'll form a thick maple paste. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Use a fork and knife to reduce the butter to pea-sized chunks.
Return to the maple sauce. Give it a good stir, and drizzle thick syrup all over apples. Cover evenly with crumb topping.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender when stabbed with a fork.
OM NOM NOM!
I attend the Nebula Awards in a few days. I don’t expect to win, but the whole thing is freaky and exciting and a cause for celebration. Therefore, I am sharing a special recipe for Snickerdoodle Pie.
That’s right. Snickerdoodle Pie. It happens to be a photogenic pie, too, so brace yourself for an onslaught of pictures.
In all honesty, it would be faster to make Snickerdoodle Cookies than to make this pie. The thing is… this pie is awesome. It looks and tastes like you made an extra effort.
It really does taste like a giant Snickerdoodle, too. I used my tried-and-true pie crust recipe, which is reposted below, but you can use a store crust or your own reliable recipe.
It’s kind of weird how perfectly Snickerdoodley this is, even for being so thick. It’s kind of magical, if magic involves cinnamon, sugar, and cream of tartar.
My husband adored this pie. The slices were great straight out of the fridge, but he experimented and found out it’s even better reheated in the oven. Wrap up a slice in some foil and warm it just enough to caramelize the sugar crust some more. Yum!
This is a special occasion pie. A birthday pie. A holiday gathering pie. A hey-I was-nominated-for-an-awesome award pie.
Plus, if you have pie, you’re a winner no matter what!
Modified from the Taste and Tell Blog and the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 16th Edition.
Bready or Not: Basic Pie Crust
A basic, reliable pie shell recipe. Great for sweet pies! Reduce the sugar, and use for savory pies, too!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup ice water
Make dough hours in advance or the night before. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the cold butter cubes, and either use a pastry blender or pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the butter is pea-sized.
Pour in the cold water and pulse/mix together until the dough forms a loose ball. I like to use my hands at this point. The dough may be sticky, but it will firm up well.
Pour dough onto a floured surface. Divide into two balls and fallen them into discs. Wrap each disc in parchment paper, then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour before placing in pie dish, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Roll out the refrigerated dough into a 12-inch round. Press it into a 9-inch dish, trimming the excess and pinching the edges. Wrap loosely with plastic wrap and freeze at least two hours before using, or keep frozen up to three months.
Bready or Not: Snickerdoodle Pie
This Snickerdoodle Pie really and truly tastes like a gigantic Snickerdoodle Cookie! The directions include divided ingredients, so read through carefully. The leftovers are incredible cold or reheated in the oven. Recipe modified from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 16th Edition, and the Taste and Tell Blog.
- 1 single unbaked pie crust
- 1 tablespoon raw or coarse sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk (almond milk works)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. In a bowl, combine the tablespoon of coarse or raw sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Brush the 1 Tablespoon of melted butter on the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter. Set aside on a cookie sheet.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, water, corn syrup, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the brown sugar. Let everything boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and set the pot aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the 1/4 cup softened butter until it's creamy. Add the 1/2 cup of white sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar until it's just mixed. Beat in the egg and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the milk. Add in the flour until it's just incorporated.
Spread the cookie dough mixture evenly in the pie crust. Get the saucepan, and slowly pour the syrup over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Cover the edges of the pie with foil or a pie shield; bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil/shield. Continue to bake about 20 more minutes, until the top of the pie is puffed and golden brown--and looks like a snickerdoodle! Use the toothpick test in the middle of the pie to make sure it's done.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. The leftovers are good cold, but are even better if warmed in the oven or toaster oven. Reheat a slice wrapped in aluminum foil at 375-degrees for about 10-12 minutes; it'll get warm through, and caramelize the top.
OM NOM NOM!
I love my traditional Caramel Apple Pie recipe, but this deep-dish apple pie is something extraordinary! It uses a springform pan.
Brace yourself for a lot of pictures. This is one of those rare times when my end result looked exactly like the photo in the magazine.
It’s a photogenic pie, isn’t it?
This Appeltaart is as delicious as it looks, too. My husband and my dad are hardcore apple pie lovers. It’s probably one of their all-time favorite foods. This pie rated VERY highly for both of them.
The directions look long, but really, it’s not an intimidating pie. I know a lot of folks hate rolling out pie crusts–well, this is the recipe for you! You press most of the dough into the pan and then slice strips for the lattice on top.
The original recipe had raisins in it–which was blasphemous to my family. I omitted the raisins and added more cinnamon.
It would be easy to modify the recipe more. Add a drizzle of caramel or dulce de leche. Try adding some nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom. Or if the making the lattice top worries you, tuck that dough away for other purposes, and throw together a crumb topping. Or instead of cutting strips for the lattice, roll out the dough and use small cookie cutters shaped like leaves or other things.
Whatever you do, I bet you’ll be amazed at the Appeltaart. This will be the showcase for your holiday dessert table… and something special to make all year round.
Modified from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine; also online.
Bready or Not: Appeltaart
This gorgeous deep-dish apple pie is made in a springform pan. If you’re intimidated by pie crusts, you’ll love the press-in crust for this recipe! Modified from an Appeltaart recipe originally featured in Martha Stewart Living.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks (6 cups)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 + tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Add the butter and work it in until only pea-size pieces are visible.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and vanilla, then pour into the dry mix. Mix until the dough makes a ball. Form about two-thirds of the dough into one disk and remaining third of dough into another disk. Separately wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them until firm, about 1 hour.
Toss together the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour. Set aside but stir every so often as you make other preparations.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Prepare a 9-inch round springform pan by cutting parchment paper to fit the circle inside. Use butter or Pam to adhere the parchment in the pan, then fully grease the top of the parchment and the sides of the pan.
Lightly flour a surface. Take out your large dough disk and roll it out. It's okay if it's fragmented. Take the pieces and press them into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Sprinkle some flour over the dough.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apple filling into the crust; you'll discard any leftover juice. Roll out the other dough disk to be about 1/4-inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into thick strips. Lay half of the strips over the filling, then do the other half crossing the other way. Press the edges of the strips into the crust at the sides.
Lightly beat the egg and brush the lattice with the egg wash.
Bake the pie until the crust is golden brown and apples are tender when stabbed with a fork, about 1 hour 10-20 minutes. Check it at the 40 minute point and cover it with foil if it starts to look too dark.
Let it cool on a wire rack until sides of tart pull away from pan, about 30 minutes. Unsnap the springform pan and remove the side circle; keep the appeltaart on the base for convenient serving. Let it cool for an least an hour before cutting in.
OM NOM NOM!