Saturday, March 11, 2017

Blackberry Cinnamon Roll Pies

Oh my God. This might be my best ever semi-invention. I had read online about cinnamon roll pie crusts but none of the full recipes (filling, etc.) looked very convincing.

Then one weekend Anna brought back some blackberries from the store and I did this.
Blackberry cinnamon roll pies.

INGREDIENTS:

store bought puff pastry
3-4 packages blackberries (I can't remember how many packs I had- we had blackberries left over, and that ain't no problem!)
1/4 c sugar
butter, melted, around 3 tablespoons
cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

ICING:
half package of cream cheese, softened
confectioners sugar
milk
cream
vanilla extract

1 package of store bought puff pastry made enough for 3 mini pies, so I think I would buy 2 packs in the future for company. I really think that mini pies are the way to go for this. I don't think the crust would hold up super well, sturdy-ness wise, to a 9 inch pie plate.

Thaw and lay out the puff pastry according to the package requirements. When it is thawed and unfolded, brush it with melted butter, sprinkle liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Use a knife or spatula to smooth/even out the cinnamon and sugar.

Roll up the sheets into a tube, then cut half inch rounds off the tube. Arrange about 5-6 of them in the mini pie plate and smush them in with your fingers so that they are joined together to form a crust.

Toss the blackberries in 1/4 c sugar. Put the black berries in the prepared crusts, then top with one more round of cinnamon roll.

Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 30-35 minutes or until blackberries are bubbling and the crust is browned and flaky.

While the pies are baking, make the cream cheese icing.

The cream cheese should be at room temp. Take half of the package of cream cheese and mix with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. This is easier using a hand mixer, if you have one. Beat until fluffy and well combined. Slowly add a little milk or cream, I used some of both, and keep beating. You can add a little vanilla extract if desired. Taste and add more confectioner's sugar if you want it sweeter. Add milk or cream and mix until it's an icing-like consistency - not like frosting for a cake- it needs to be runnier. Just add the liquid slowly until it looks good.

Let the pies cool for a while. Put the icing on right before you eat! It's super great when they are still warm!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mail and Moomin: Places to find peace

Hey there everybody! 

I've been upset and angry at developments from the White House these days, and though I'm trying to keep up with everything that's going on, I also need to step back and find peace and enjoyment in life to keep my head and not get bogged down or hopeless.

 For me, making mail is part of that peace.


In January I kept making snowy wintry mail, which in some ways feels unseasonal. It's like, Christmas is over, I'm ready for spring!


We did have some really unseasonably warm days here too. On the day of the Women's March (we had 5,000 people show up in our town!) it was like 60 degrees!


But it's gotten cold again, and there were flurries on and off all day yesterday. I'm really rather grateful for it, as the mud was getting intolerable. We had to put Hubble in the bath to wash off his paws every time he had to go outside. 


 So I've kept on with winter, sending the last of my beautiful quilt cards that I love so much, and using snowy scenes from all the children's book dust jackets that my library was giving away.

Here's a fun Christmas gift from my sister-in-law:
 A handmade solar system coffee coozy! I love it!

And here's that monstrous pup:
 He was sleeping like this, I don't know how he kept his legs that straight while asleep. 

And bar art from trivia night:

And another place I'm finding peace and happiness these days: Moomins!
 

I'd heard of Moomins before but had never read a book until now. I am two chapters in and I just love it so much. It's like a Scandinavian Winnie the Pooh. It's funny and cute and peaceful and a little bit weird.

I highly recommend it!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cranberry Chess Pie

I've been wanting to make this pie all fall, and I finally did it for a family Christmas party. There couldn't have been a better occasion, it is so festive looking.

I got the recipe from a really cool pie blog called Nothing in the House.
I had never before made or even had a chess pie. It's one of those kitchen staple pies- sugar, butter, flour, eggs, milk or buttermilk, and a little cornmeal.

Here's a link to the recipe.




And boy, did it turn out great! The cranberries are a real nice tart burst to go with the sweet chess filling. I kind of thought that the chess custard tasted kind of like sugar cookie batter that hadn't been cooked all the way. I will definitely be making this pie again.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Mail!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year folks!





 May the Force Be With You!



I've had a kind of crazy fall semester. I got a new job, 9-5, and I taught a three hour ESL class two nights a week, so I was tired out!  But I'm not teaching in the new year, and so I'll have lots more time for cooking dinner and pies and posting on a blog and mail art and dare I say it, going to the gym (!!).

This Christmas was really wonderful and I did a ton of cookie baking, most notably my grandmothers gingerbread recipe. This is maybe 2/5ths of the gingerbread cookies we made... the batch is doubled and so enormous but the cookies go so quickly!!

(The picture looks a little wonky in spots because I used the panorama option!)


The tree we got this year was different than any other I've had. The needles were much longer and softer.

 
The university library had a big giveaway of dust jackets of childrens books, so I took a bunch and we cut them up to make ornaments and I also used them for my mail art. We also bought a bunch of cheap children's books at the public library's second hand book shop and made ornaments out of them. I particularly love the frog.




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

1/4th of a social, and cousin mail

Here I am, watching the LWA social a day late, before being interrupted 30 minutes into it. No worries, just means I get to stretch out the fun even more. 
I'm using up some of my Ink Drop samples from Goulet Pens. I haven't ordered anything from them in ages, but I still get their newsletter, and they've discontinued their Ink Drop subscription. It's completely understandable. The amount of samples they were sending out is staggering! I'm just happy that they have so much business.

Semi-recently received from my cousin Aaron.
 I love his drawings.
And a reply:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dinner Pies- Empanadas!

In the past week or so I've made a few dinner pies. They seem more economical than sweet pies, because well, I need to eat dinner, and I don't necessarily need to eat dessert.

It's been really fun and Clay and Anna helped me with them.

I got out a book from the library of empanada recipes: Empanadas, the Hand-held Pies of Latin America, and we made chorizo and potato empanadas. They were delicious! We added hard boiled eggs because the book said that was a common empanada component, and hard boiled eggs are delicious.

First you cook the filling because the filling needs to refrigerate for as long as possible. And then you make the dough- there were several different recipes, some good for frying, some for baking.


We fried ours, golden brown!
At first we were a little disappointed that we only had enough dough to make 8 empanadas. But we felt silly when we realized we could only eat about one and a half each, and the next day they were even better cold!

Clay made this delicious salsa verde from tomatillas.

It's been fun making savory pies because they are so different and I don't necessarily know how to make them any better than Clay or Anna. I like learning new things.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Outgoing

To my friend from childhood, who shared my love of horses:



An Arthur Rackham calendar envelope:
 This blue floral washi tape was a gift from my mom and it's really neat because it's fabric! I really like how stretchy it is, and it also seems much more sturdy than regular washi tape. The only downside (which isn't a huge deal) is that it doesn't take well to having things glued or stuck on top of it.

Stamp selvage on a letter to Erica.