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Easier Than Pie!


By Becky LeFevre

As a child, I spent most of my days at home with my grandma and grandpa while my mom was at work.  My grandma practically lived in the kitchen.  She was a great cook and made absolutely delicious pies.  I watched her diligently and over time learned how to add just the right amount of water to make the dough flaky but not tough, how to flute the edges of apple pie or make a lattice top for a cherry pie.  I learned that sometimes you have to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit.  I can bake a great pie.  But, I also learned that great pie takes a lot of time, and time is in short supply. I’ll bake a pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe a birthday or once when the sour cherries are in season, but for the rest of the year I settle for creative alternatives. 

The following recipes are the absolute simplest pie-alternatives you can find.  Not only are they thrown together in less than 5 minutes, they look and taste fabulous and are nutritious.  If you want a pie but don’t have time, try this:

First, get some of your favorite fruits. I have peaches from Partyka farm and 20oz apples from Chryst farm, both from the Genesee Country Farmers Market.
Then, turn on your oven to 350
For Peaches, cut peaches in half and remove pit. Place facing up (skin down) on a baking sheet (you can cut a thin slice off the back of the fruit so it sits up straight on the baking sheet).  Top with either:
· a pad of butter and teaspoon of light brown sugar  OR
· drizzle on some honey with a few sprigs of fresh lavender, or lemon zest
· for extra excitement, add a some fresh berries or plums to the peaches when they are halfway done. Don’t add berries in the beginning or they will get mushy.
Bake for a half hour (while you are eating dinner). Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
For Apples, remove the core from apple (try to keep the bottom of the apple intact).  If your apple is quite large or you don’t have patience with the core removal, cut it in half and remove the core that way.
 Fill the apple with a pad of butter and approximately a teaspoon of light brown sugar, depending on the size of apple.  Sprinkle on some cinnamon or insert a stick of cinnamon. You can also add some raisins and pecans. Bake on 350 for a half hour or till tender. Serve will a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Tonight I’m roasting a chicken for dinner, with potatoes, onions and beans from the market. I’m going to slip 2 huge sugar-butter stuffed apples into the oven when the chicken is done, and voilà…dessert!

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