Homemade desserts

In our quest for healthier living, I am learning to make homemade desserts. Not the frozen ready-to-bake kind. But real homemade from scratch. I’ve always known how to make homemade cakes and cookies since my dad and both grandmothers made them growing up. I found an easy frosting recipe so now that is completely homemade. Still, there’s more to desserts than just cakes and cookies.

How about you?

In the More With Less Cookbook is an easy chocolate pudding recipe. That just leaves pies. It’s not the filling that is the trouble, but I’m intimidated with crusts. They just don’t turn out right. As a result, my idea of homemade pie is the frozen ready-to-bake kind or Safeway bakery. Both are getting to be too expensive for what you get, not to mention all the unhealthy additives in them. So either I learn to make them myself or we do without.

Yesterday when we went shopping we bought some fresh strawberries. They don’t last long in my house, some spoil but most get gobbled down by kids. Well, I managed to keep about half the carton until tonight. I didn’t think they would keep overnight and wasn’t sure what to do.

I was looking online and found Amish Heartland magazine’s website. It has recipes, including an easy strawberry pie (including crust). I decided to try it. Unfortunately, my pie pan is bigger than they call for and I didn’t have enough berries to stretch the recipe. Oh, well, now I know. I also have some crust dough left over to make cinnamon crisps since the pie only uses one crust.

I can also adapt the recipe for other berries. So, basic desserts (cakes and frosting, chocolate pudding, and now berry pies) are covered. Now I just need to wait for hubby to return to taste, but after sampling the sauce pan, the kids say yum.

So I don’t forget, here’s the pie recipes:

FLAKY PASTRY (Pie Crust)

2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water

Mix flour and salt. Reserve 1/4 cup. Cut shortening into remaining flour mixture. Mix water with 1/4 cup flour to form paste. Add to shortening/flour mixture. Mix and form ball. Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts.

STRAWBERRY PIE

1 quart strawberries, washed, stemmed and drained
1 baked pie shell
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
whipped topping

Pick out the choicest half of the strawberries and place them in baked pie shell. Mash the remaining berries in a saucepan and add sugar and cornstarch. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes. Let cool and pour over berries in pie shell. Chill. When ready to serve, top with whipped topping and garnish each piece with a strawberry slice. May be made a day ahead.

AMISH SHOE-FLY PIE

2 (8-inch) pie crusts, unbaked
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups flour
1 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup molasses

To make crumb mixture, cut butter into the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the boiling water, soda and molasses. In the unbaked shells, alternate layers of crumbs and liquid, ending with the crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 45 minutes or until set. Yield: 2 pies, 12 servings.

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