Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy as Pie

So it seems that everyone I love is still on a New Year's high and making commitments for a better 2012. I think I have even made some baby steps in that direction. In the past few weeks I have stayed true to my resolution to drink more water--and even made an unexpected commitment to cut out Diet Coke to aide me in that process. I have also been running regularly every week in hopes to knock out my first 5k by the end of next month. I was on a role making such healthy choices for myself that I decided I should continue the streak and take the next positive step toward checking off my New Year's Resolutions...let's make a pie!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to enter the BHG recipe contests. I have been a Better Homes and Gardens subscriber for YEARS and have always saved the contest articles from past contests thinking "I should do this!"...but then I never did. This year I'm gonna!! (Why not?! It will give me a nice break from the corny dogs and chicken nuggets I fix for my children the rest of the month.) This month's categories are pies and burgers. Tonight I tried my hand at the pie.

And not just any pie--summer pies--summer, fruit-filled pies. I gotta tell you, this was probably the hardest category for me to start off on. While I do consider myself to be one of the "most-improved" cooks I know, I am certainly not a baker. And truth be told, I don't really like pies all that much. *gasp!* I know that probably sounds pretty un-American of me, and I apologize for that... no I don't. In fact, I am not that big on sweets of any kind--with the exception to that being cheesecakes and Blue Bell ice cream.

That's why I decided to try a frozen pie. It could give me the ice-creamy texture that I like and still fit the bill. (And honestly, who enjoys baking in the summertime?! Or in El Paso in January when it's still 72 degrees outside?!) I once tried a pie that was SO easy and I loved it: the Neely's Frozen Lemonade Pie. (You can look up the recipe on Food Network's website. I am too lazy to hyperlink crap... that's not how I roll on this blog!) It is so fluffy and creamy and sweet without being too sweet (the lemon helps a lot in that department.) But clearly, I couldn't just submit this recipe. First and foremost because it is not my original recipe, and secondly, because it is not fruit-filled. But man did I ever come as close to copy-catting their recipe as I could when I developed my original--Frozen Strawberry Limeade Pie. (Sounds summery, doesn't it?)

Here's what you need:

For crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted

For Strawberry Limeade Filling:

1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
One 12-ounce container whipped topping, thawed
3 fluid oz-(half a can) of frozen limeade concentrate, unthawed
Whole strawberries for garnish

Here's how you do it:

Before you begin:

In a small sauce pan, cook the sliced strawberries with the 1 cup granulated sugar over medium-high heat until it becomes thick, bubbly, syrupy goodness--about 5 minutes (I promise, I almost stopped making the pie at this point and just ate the fact, I made a little more just so I could have extra on hand lol)

After you are done cooking the strawberries you will need to transfer them to the refrigerator so the syrup can chill completely. (Everything needs to be cold going into the filling or it won't work.)

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In medium bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, sugar and the melted butter until combined and resembles a mixture that looks like this:

Then pour the mixture into a pie plate and press firmly along the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. This is what you'll get:

For the filling: (aka-the fun part.) In a large bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk to the whipped topping. Gently fold them together until combined, making sure to keep the mixture light and fluffy. Add the limeade concentrate and continue to gently fold. Finally, fold in the chilled strawberry syrup. Be careful not to stir or overmix or then the mixture will turn to liquid--that's not what we want. You still want it to look fluffy. Pour the filling into the pie crust. It'll look about like this.

Tuck that puppy into the freezer to chill overnight (or at least for eight hours.)

So there you have it. Mine is currently still sleeping. But so long as it hasn't collapsed by morning, this is the recipe I will submit. (I will post a picture of the finished product to Facebook tomorrow if you're interested to see how it turns out.)

Now I know you're thinking, "what the heck am I supposed to do with that extra half a can of limeade?" Here's one solution I came up with for you...

Strawberry Limeade Punch:

In a food blender, liquify about a half cup of strawberry syrup. *You know you made extra too ;)* Then, in a 2-qt pitcher, combine half a can of limeade concentrate, the 1/2 cup liquified strawberry syrup, and half a can of vodka. Then fill the remainder of the pitcher with your favorite lemon lime soda. Stir together. Serve in a glass over ice.

And I know you're also thinking, "What the heck can I do for 8 hours while I'm waiting on my frozen pie to be ready?" Here are some ideas I have for that as well:
-Do a lot of crunches and floor exercises, because you are about to eat a pie.
-Hop onto Pinterest--I always seem to burn a lot of hours quickly that way ;)
-Take a nap

Bet you can't guess what I'm doing while I wait...

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