Getting Hot In The Kitchen

For about 2 years our oven has been finicky. Sometimes it would heat up properly and other times it was pure hell doing all tricks we could think of to get it to heat up. These feats often ended in me slamming the front door to the oven and having bread totally ruined on my counter because it was overset.

This oven annoyance contributed to such delicacies as my failed cupcakes and my less than pitas. You would think we would have fixed this earlier. The thing is, it still worked enough – most of the time – to get things done. We learned not to start baking anything until the oven was hot, to do it all at once, and to make a lot of non-oven necessary dishes.

This week the oven officially crapped out. 100%.  It came to a head when I was going to make strawberry pie. I had to break the news to Mr. A the oven wouldn’t work so I couldn’t bake pie. I’m not sure who was more disappointed, him or me.

There are just some things in life that put you into action, and lack of strawberry pie put him over the edge. If only I had known that two years ago. Within 5 minutes of saying this I walked out into the kitchen to much banging.

After positively identifying it was indeed the igniter that was burnt out, Mr. A quickly went online and for $30.00 ordered a new one. No worries about gas leakage, the gas valve is triggered to open only when our igniter gets hot enough. Because the igniter never became hot enough, there was never any gas released.

Two days later the part came.

As he fixed things, the entire time he sang in an R. Kelly way about how awesome he was at fixing things. I told you, he’s incredibly modest. This fix was as simple as pulling out the old fixture, stripping a couple wires and putting everything back together.

 

It was pretty clear when he pulled out the old part it was the issue.

We tested it out and held our breaths.

It worked! It worked! Would it heat all the way up though?

We assembled everything, turned the oven onto 425 (pie temperature) and waited. As I was used to, I refused to start prepping until it hit temp. In about 5-10 minutes I heard the beep go off, I came in and the oven, well – this just about sums it up!

 

Pie! Our oven once again works beautifully. Absolutely perfectly beautifully. This is in no way reflective of how beautiful my pie making skills are. It was quite delicious though {recipe here}.

I’m happy my oven works again, and Mr. A is happy he finally received strawberry pie.

Happy Food Motivating + Hot Kitchens,

Heather

Strawberry{licious} Pie

Note: This is the first time I made the Pate Brisee crust on a super hot summer day. Needless to say it got soft very fast from a chilled state, and wasn’t the easiest thing to roll out because of the softness. It’s still delicious but be careful not to get it too thin like I did. Roll it around your rolling pin and onto your greased pie pan. Or, use a different recipe. Or, make pie in the winter. Or, eat up and who cares anyway.

Earlier this summer we picked 12 pounds of strawberries, which I promptly processed and vacuum froze for smoothies. Really though, all I wanted was pie. I have yet to make a single strawberry smoothie but the thought of pie is staring me down every time I open that freezer. Consider it done.

I started off with my very favorite pie crust ever, Pate Brisee. I love it because it’s versatile and delicious. I adapt my recipe from the Martha Stewart version. Her version doesn’t call for any spices in the crust besides sugar and salt. When I use it as a savory crust I like to add a teaspoon of herbs which compliment the filling. When I use it as a sweet pie crust I like to add a 1/2 teaspoon cake or pumpkin pie spice for just a little kick. This is just my preference.

Pate Brisee Pie Crust {adapted from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cake spice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
Directions
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and cake spice. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  2. Slowly add water through the feed tube while the machine is turned on. Pulse until dough holds together. The dough should not be wet or sticky, but should still hold together if squeezed. If it is crumbly, add more ice water a teaspoon or so at a time. I find that 1/4 a cup is sometimes too much.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
Ingredients
  • 1 quart strawberries or 1 large package frozen strawberries, thawed and drained (reserve drained juice)
  • 3/4 cup reserved juice, or water
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup reserved juice, or water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sliced berries, fresh or frozen, thawed and drained
  • whipped cream
  • whole berries for garnish
Directions
  1. Combine strawberries and water in saucepan. Cook until just softened, about 4 or 5 minutes. (Let frozen berries thaw; heat but don’t cook them.)
  2. Mix together cornstarch, sugar, and water until smooth; add to hot berries. Cook over medium heat until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.
  3. Add lemon juice; immediately remove from heat and let cool.
Assembling
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Thaw one of the crusts and roll into a 9 inch round. Grease the bottom of the pie pan and lay the crust on the bottom.
  3. Partially bake the bottom crust on 425 F for about 15-20 minutes. Pull out of the oven and fill with the Strawberry filling.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool so it sets up – if you can wait.
Happy Pie Making In A Hopefully Cooler Kitchen,
Heather