Baking Tips Anyone?

trudymomAugust 19, 2007

I always learn so much for you guys. Here's one--I probably learned it on here.

I keep one of those free plastic hotel shower caps on my mixer bowl to keep the dust out since it sits on my cabinet.

Anyone else want to play?

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Since usually the only use I make of Crisco is greasing pans, I leave a square of crumpled paper towel in the container of shortening for that purpose.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 4:22AM
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I keep my silpat in an empty paper towel roll- just the cardboard part.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 10:10AM
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I use those cheap wood skewers for cake testers...100 for $1.00. I also love the stainless steel conf sugar shaker. It has a screened top and very handy for dusting cakes etc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 6:31PM
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I have found that pie dough comes out best if made in a glass or ceramic bowl (rather than metal). Also, the crust crisps up better, if one sticks the pie shell, tart shells, or whatever into the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 8:41PM
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lorna-organic, do you have a favorite pie recipe that you can share?


    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 7:27AM
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Hello, Trudymom!

My favorite pies are pecan and meat pies. Would it be appropriate to post a recipe for Tourtierre here? It is a traditional Christmas Eve favorite of French Canadians, a ground pork and onion pie.

My favorite recipe for pecan pie is in the old "Better Homes and Garden" cook book. My copy is 35 years old. Maybe the newer versions of the book still list the recipe. I pretty much follow the recipe, except I add a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup to create more depth of flavor. I can post it for you, if you would like to have it.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 7:27PM
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lorna-organic, oh, please post your recipes for Tourtierre, pecan pie, and your crust!! Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 9:19AM
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Here you go, Trudymom! By the way, I mis-spelled the name! This dish is traditional Christmas Eve fare in French-Canadian homes.


Pastry (I really like this pastry for meat pies)

2 cups white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2-1 tsp. salt (depending on your taste for salt)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3-1/2 cup cold water
l tablespoon vinegar

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Work in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you can use your fingers. Combine water and vinegar, then lightly stir them into the flour. Sprinkle your dough with flour, then knead it for one minute Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes or more. To use, roll out each half of your dough, separately, on floured board and cut to fit the size of your pie plate. (Invert your plate over the rolled dough and cut two circles an inch larger in diameter.) I use a 9" pie plate.

Meat filling:

1-3/4s pounds ground pork
2 medium onoins, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
3/4s tsp. sage or savory
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tablesppons white flour

egg glaze: 1 egg white, slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water.

Cook ground pork in a large frying pan until it loses pink color. Push meat to the side, or temporarily remove from pan, so you can saute onion and garlic. Drain off fat. Add water, salt, mustard and seasonings to combined meat, onion and garlic mixture. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with your 1-1/2 tablespoons of flour, sift it first so it won't lump up, and simmer for about 3 minutes until mixture thickens a bit.

Fill your pastry lined pie plate with meat mixture. Cover top with your extra sheet of pastry. Flute/seal edges, cut three 1" steam slits across the top, and brush egg glaze over the top so that it will brown nicely. Bake at 400 degrees (F) for 20 minutes, until browned. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before serving. This pie makes a lovely presentation.

Sometimes I add some chopped mushrooms to the mix.
* * *

I'll post the pecan pie recipe in a day or so.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 4:46PM
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lorna-organic, thank you for posting the recipe. I will be making it this week for sure--I can't wait til Christmas Eve. I look forward to your pecan pie recipe also--the crust too, please.

Thank you for your time.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 8:09PM
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Hello, Trudymom! I hope you enjoy the meat pie. The tourtiere is inexpensive to make, and most people are really wowed by the sight of a big meat pie on the table. I grew up eating meat pies and pasties because my mom is from England. The tourtiere recipe was given to me by a man who lives in Quebec, family recipe handed down from his grandmother.

Here is the other recipe. I made individual pecan tarts last week. Great treat!

Pecan Pie


1-1/2 cups of white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4-5 tablespoons cold water

Mix salt into flour, add cold butter and shortening and cut in with a pastry cutter (or your fingers). Stir in 4 tablespoons cold water, using a fork. If dough is not soft enough to collect all of the flour from the bottom of the bowl, add the additional tablespoon of water. Stir only until the dough holds together--don't want to overdo it. The less dough is handled, the lighter it will bake up.

Put some flour down on a pastry sheet or board and roll out your dough. (I often use a large tart pan, and simply use my fingers to press the dough into place.) Put your pie shell into the freezer whilst you prepare the filling.


3 large eggs
1/2 cup of white sugar
dash of salt
1 cup of corn syrup (dark or light, doesn't matter)
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
1/2 cup of melted butter (slightly cooled)
1-1/2 cups pecan halves

Beat the eggs thoroughly. Add the sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup and melted butter--beat well.
Put the pecans in the bottom of your pie shell, pour on the custard, and bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 50 minutes.

A thin knife can be used to test for doneness, insert halfway between center and edge of crust. Pie is done when the knife comes out clean. Or, you can tap the custard lightly with a finger. If your finger does not leave a depression, the pie is done. Let pecan pie cool well before serving, as hot syrup can cause painful burns in the mouth.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 4:28PM
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lorna-organic, thank you so much for the pecan pie recipe--including the crust. I love recipes that have been handed down through the ages--always the best. Thank you again for your time!!


    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 6:59PM
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Don't know much about pies, but here is what I learned about mixing cakes......I use an electric mixer up to the point of adding the dry mix and the liquid. Then I revert to carefuly folding and mixing by hand. Makes for a lighter, better crumbed cake. Also, find that after the layers have been baked and cooled, putting them into the freezer for a couple of hours (wrap the cake layers well) helps. I even allow them to freeze over night, makes for a better textured cake. Easier to split layers and to decorate.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 8:36PM
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I too use Crisco is greasing pans w/ a little twist.

Mix to combine together well:
2 cups of Crisco
1 cup of flour

Store in a cover container. End result you'll grease & flour your baking pans in one easy sweep.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 11:33AM
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When beating egg whites to make them stiff, add a dash of salt or a dash of cream of tartar. Either causes a chemical reation which helps the egg whites to achieve volume and hold their shape. I've heard that beating egg whites in a copper bowl will produce the same result, but I tried it a few times without good results.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 12:59PM
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When making choc chip oatmeal cookies for kids I add
a can of chick peas and tell them they are macadamia
nut oatmeal choc chip cookies. They think they are getting
a real fancy treat.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 6:21PM
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Haras, you had me laughing out loud with that one. Very good!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 2:18PM
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This is not a baking tip, but I think a good tip nonetheless.
If you have a plastic storage container that has picked up a bad odor, like leaving in the refrigerator too long and something has spoiled. Or onions or unpleasant odor of any kind. Wash the container, don't dry it. Crumple a sheet of newspaper and put in it. Then seal with the cover and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning all smell will have vanquished.

Also after cutting up onions, wet your hands then sprinkle liberally with salt. Rub hands together as you would if washing with soap. Then wash off the salt and the odor comes off with it. Glenda

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 3:26PM
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Store nuts in the freezer to keep them from going rancid. But, be sure to let them return to room temperature before using in a recipe. Otherwise, their cold temperature will affect the baking/cooking time (such as in puddings or pecan pie).

Speaking of rancid nuts... I always at least sniff an opened bag of nuts to be sure they don't smell rancid. Or I'll eat a few to be sure. Nothing spoils a good cookie, bread, or cake like the taste of rancid nuts.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 10:05PM
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I like to use cocoa to dust the pan after greasing the cake pan when making chocolate cake.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 10:58PM
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