5th Annual National Pie Day Pie-Luck & Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel

Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel
Serving Up Pie
Sweet Pie Sampler
Valentine's Day Cherry Pie
On the needles
Roses and Snow
Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel

For the fifth year in a row, my knitting friend and I gathered at Casa Cleaver to celebrate National Pie Day with lots and lots of pie.

Due to the seemingly never-ending snow and some scheduling conflicts, our group was slightly smaller than usual, but we still managed to have 11 kinds of pie represented. There was a spicy meat pie, lentil shepherds pie, empanadas, cauliflower quiche, chocolate tart with hazelnut crust, nutella/banana, raspberry ribbon, ginger pear, lemon meringue, cherry and blackberry.

Much pie was eaten, much tea was drank, and much knitting was done. We also managed to cover all 70 toes present with hand-knit socks.

I intended to make my traditional cherry cup-pies, but due the lack of tasty ingredients in unbaked pie-dough, my baking assistant started losing interest and I went for simple(r), by making a regular pie and using a heart cookie cutter for the top crust, which would make a great valentine's day dessert, methinks.

I also tried out a new recipe that I've been dreaming of for a while, inspired by my much-beloved Katie Cakes from Chicago. While I'd like to try one at least one more iteration before I'd call it final (adding a bit of cinnamon and clove to berries), it was pretty delicious, so I thought I'd share it here.

Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • up to 1/2 cup of cold water


  • 4 cups blackberries (boysenberries would work great too), fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • zest of one lemon

Pre-heat Oven to 350 Degrees F.

Mix together flour and salt for crust. Using knives or a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until mixture resembles course meal. Add cold water a small amount at a time, until dough holds together. Separate into two equal-sized balls. Flatten balls into discs and wrap separately in plastic wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes, or at a minimum, while filling and streusel is prepared.

Mix together filling ingredidents and set aside.

Mix together streusel ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll out chilled dough for bottom of pan. Insert pie filling. Roll out dough for top of pan, making a lattice structure is recommended.

Sprinkle streusel on top. It seems like a lot of streusel, but I'd recommend using it all as the pie expands slightly while baking.

Put in oven and bake for 1 hour, or until pie bubbles. Briefly broil top to brown if needed.


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Making Pie









Not gonna lie, of all the pies I make, apple pies are by far the the most time consuming with all the peeling, coring, chopping and mixing, it probably takes twice as long as a berry pie (even with a peeling machine, which I can't recommend enough!). But all that work? So worth it!

My baking assistant certainly though the ribbons of peel were fun,and the cinnamon and sugar-covered apple-slices were A-OK by her. And truthfully, after eight years of annual apple pie-making, I've got my process down. And so we've already eaten one pie, and have the second in the freezer for later this winter.

Want a video of me walking through the pie-making process? Check! Or the recipe? Check!

Book Illustration:  Time for A Hug by Phillis Gershator, Mim Green, with Illustrations by David Walker, a new favorite in our house.

Interested in Children's books? Me too! As the daughter of a former elementary-school librarian, who currently reads at least 5 new picture books a week (thanks local library!), I've started compiling a list our our household favorites with detailed reviews over on my Pinterest Page.

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A Trip to the Midcoast (Day 1)

Moody's Diner

Lunch At Moody'sDiner

Lunch at Moody's Diner

French Fries at Moody's Diner

4 Berry Pie at Moody's Diner

Rockland Public Landing

Rockland Public Landing

Rockland Public Landing






Whale's Tooth


This past week, the Cleaver's packed up and headed off the Midcoast for our first vacation since LMC's arrival in our lives. We set our sights on the Rockland/Camden area, about 2 hours north of Portland, and with reservations for a cottage and the loosest of to-see lists, we set off on our grand adventure.

The trip provided us with some stunning views, some additions to the fabric stash, good food (THAT PIE!!), and some much-needed down time

Moody's Diner, Waldboro Rockland Public Landing Clementine, Rockland Whale's Tooth Pub, Lincolnville Lincolnville Beach Pine Grove Cottages, Lincolnville

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Raspberry Picking and Pie

Picking Raspberries
Down the Path
Picking Raspberries
Picking Raspberries
Picking Raspberries
Snell Family Farm
Picking Raspberries
Checking for More
Tasting the Bounty
Picking Raspberries
Raspberry Pie
Raspberry Pie
Raspberry Pie and Ice Cream
Eating Pie

What can I say? I love pick your own (PYO) farm adventures!

Last week at the farmer's market we discovered that Snell Family Farm did PYO raspberries (they do apples too). So on a sunny Saturday morning Mr. Cleaver, LMC and I loaded up the wagon (no pets allowed, unfortunately) and took the short drive out to Buxton/Bar Mills.

We had a fabulous picking experience. The raspberry fields are orderly and the picking rows are wide, so you don't have to worry about backing into thorns/stepping on fruit. There were plenty of ripe berries on the bushes, mostly down low, which meant that LMC could pick berries on her own (though she doesn't quite get the concept of ripe/not ripe yet).

I highly recommend bringing a picking assistant- twice the picking, half the fruit! I'm pretty sure LMC ate at least 1/2 pint of raspberries while we were picking, but as the kind cashier said, "I didn't weight her when she came in, I'm not weighing her on the way out." (We gave them some extra cash anyhow).  We were also able to pick up some carrots and green beans from the farm stand and they have huge greenhouses full of flowers. So if you're in the mood for picking fruit, I'd highly recommend our Snell experience.

Also, can I say that Mr. Cleaver did an awesome job as field-trip photographer? With the exception of the pie close-ups, he took all of these. And he says he doesn't know how to use my camera- ha!

We ended up with two full quarts of berries, half of which we're in the process of eating fresh and the other half made their way into a raspberry pie. While LMC has assisted in the baking portion before, this was her first slice of pie, of which she left no crumb uneaten, so I think I'm safe to say she liked it.

LMC-Approved Raspberry Pie

Preheat oven to 375 °F


  • 2 cups flour, plus more for rolling surface/rolling pin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup very cold water
  • Small amount of milk
  • Small amount of sugar

Mix together flour and salt then “cut in” shortening with a pastry cutter or knives.

Add up to 1/4 cup of very cold water a few Tablespoons at a time, until dough holds together.  Form into two equal-sized balls of dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator (at least while you make the filling, preferably at least an hour). Flour working surface and roll out crusts, using half the dough for each. Makes one top and one bottom crust for a 9″ pie tin.


  • 4 cups fresh (or thawed frozen) raspberries
  • 3 Tbl cornstarch
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup of sugar (to taste, based on the sweetness of your fruit)

Mix filling ingredients together, trying not to smush the berries too much.

Place lower crust into a 9-inch pie pan and pour in filling. Use a small amount of milk or water around the edge of the lower crust to help seal.  Cut vents in top crust and place over filling, cut off overhanging crust (save them for cinnaminninies!) and crimp the edges to the lower crust to seal.  Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with a light dusting of cane sugar.

Place in center of oven and bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until filling bubbles and crust is golden brown. If needed, cover the edges of the crust with tinfoil during the final stages of baking to prevent scorching.

Cool on the windowsill of your choice (nothing burns like hot fruit!) and enjoy with ice cream.

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My 207 Video Debut

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On 207 Tonight!

My 207 cooking segment airs tonight (Friday) on WCSH6 at 7:00pm. I'll post the video for everyone tomorrow. In the meantime, you can check out my experience filming, the recipe, or tips on making cup-pies.


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My Day in the 207 Kitchen

Kathy and Me in the 207 Kitchen

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to scratch a big item off my bucket list, appear on 207. For those not from southern Maine, 207 is a nightly local news magazine show, similar to the Evening Magazine shows that are shown  in various US markets. A typical episode of 207 may have a performance by a local or visiting band, interviews with a author, a cooking segment with a local chef or baker, and some other local news story

.At the station

Since it's inception on our local NBC affiliate, 207 has been hosted by local news anchors Kathleen Shannon and Rob Caldwell. Ever since we moved back to Maine, it's been part of Mr. Cleaver and I's nightly ritual to watch the show (followed by Jeopardy!) and so it's been a dream of mine to be on the show somehow to and to get a 207 mug the guests use on the show.

So last week when I came home from knitting and Mr. Cleaver told me that 207 was holding a contest to be on the show, all you have to do was post on their facebook page about your favorite (original) apple recipe. So post I did:

Every year I turn my big bag of apples into a number of delicious apples pies. I even have streusel topped and cup-pie (mini-pies made in a cupcake tin) options!

I would call myself a 207 super fan and I would love the chance to roll out some dough with Kathleen. I'd even bring some choice samples from my vintage apron collection for us to wear!

Granted, I think there was about four people who posted, but nonetheless, I was thrilled when I got a facebook message from Kathleen asking me to be on the show!



After getting the details (you have 5 minutes to assemble a pie!), and making my sample pre-baked pie, I went to WCSH6 studio yesterday morning to film my segment. A producer brought me up to the Kitchen set (which lives on the sales floor) and I began to set up.

Some funny things I learned about the set and baking on tv:

  • While everything on the kitchen set works (stove, microwave, sink, stovetop), there is another kitchen for staff's daily use directly behind the kitchen with a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher, and official cooler. There are some fake cabinet panels that cover the doorway during filming.
  • The cameras are all controlled remotely. So there are no camera guys, but you can see the cameras move.
  • There are some big banks of lights that are hot, but not super hot, and while I was mic'ed, I didn't have to wear any makeup other than what I walked in off the street with.
  • You actually do it in five minutes, with no editing it down and five minutes goes by really fast! But you just keep working while you talk/ talk while you work.
  • Things go in the little ingredient bowls because a) it goes faster and b) they can't show any product labels, including generics, less it seem like an endorsement.
  • Kathleen Shannon takes her shoes off in the kitchen segments. So technically, we were barefoot (her), knocked up (me), and in a kitchen.

The set!

Official cooler

All the little ingredient bowls

I have to say that while I was nervous about my first television appearance, Kathleen was a total pro,who made it very easy on me and I had a blast. It was a total bucket-list worthy experience. After our segment was finished filming, Kathleen was nice enough to give me tour of the rest of the studio where I discovered that everything is on different floors (i.e. the weather green screen is no where near the news set) and that all the sets are much smaller than you would think.

Finished product

And I got not one, but two 207 mugs, because she gave me an extra for Mr. Cleaver because we're such big fans. Earned it baby!


I'm not 100% sure when the segment is going to air, either Friday or Wednesday, but I'll try to post a heads-up for locals when I know for sure. In any case, they always post video (and the recipe) online afterwards, so I'll post the video or a link as soon as it's available. Fingers crossed I don't come across as a total goob  and even if I do, it was still super fun!.

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A Few Notes on Cup-pies


At a friend's request, here are a few tips on making cup-pies.

  • I'm generally able to get 10 cup-pies out of one regular pie's worth of crust and filling.
  • For the bottom crust I cut a 4-inch circle, and used a 3-inch biscuit cutter for the top.
  • The thicker the bottom crust, the easier it will be to pop them out of the cupcake tin.
  • There's no need to grease or line the cupcake tins at all.
  • I probably overfilled these a bit as they leaked a bit during cooking, so a little under the tin rim is probably best.
  • Don't forget to vent the top!
  • For extra flair, I brushed the tops with milk and then sprinkled them with a bit of granulated sugar.
  • I cook them at 350-375°F for 30 minutes, or until the filling bubbles. For this batch then broiled the tops for about a minute to get them golden brown.
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Happy National Pie Day!

2012-A-Year-in-Food.gifIn America, the National Pie Council (what, your country doesn't have one of those?) declared January 23rd National Pie Day. Being as we for some strange reason don't get this as a day off, I had to do my celebrating yesterday in my now-traditional fashion, with a pie-luck!


I made a batch of cherry cup-pies and a chocolate/raspberry pie that I neglected to photograph.

(Note to all bakers out there, when making a recipe for the first time, read the whole recipes before the morning you attempt to make it. I neglected to do this and caught myself running out of time when I realized that my raspberry pie took FOUR HOURS to make due to refrigerating time for the different parts.)

I think I need to make cup-pies more often, they're adorable and take only a tiny bit more work than a regular pie.

Egg Pie

As usual we had a range of savory, sweet, and tart pies.  A pie-luck requires at least three rounds to the table and generous amounts of tupperware for the leftovers.

Eating Pie

Pie Plate

We also got in a fair amount of knitting and Aimee, Chris, and Maggie split up several balls of Jamieson and Smith yarn for our sheep heid knit-a-long. (I'm spinning mine).

Sheep Heid Shares

Pie Carnage

So for those interested, here's a run-down of the pies (if I forgot any my apologies!):

  • Savory
    • Red Lentil & root vegetable pot pie
    • Goat cheese and leek egg pie/quiche
    • Pizza Pie
  • Fruit-Based
    • Apple Cranberry
    • Cranberry Pear Shortbread
    • Cranberry Sage
    • Cherry Cup-pies
    • Chocolate Raspberry
    • Apricot Cheese
  • Cream
    • Chocolate Satin
    • Butterfinger

With all the leftovers I ended up with - I'll be celebrating pie all week!!

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Fall Update

IMGP4007.JPG On Thursday I finally got around to making my annual apple pies. Technically you could say I made six, but I ended up with two, as four went to my co-workers who came over for a pie-making lesson/afternoon.


I might of eaten pie for breakfast. Twice.

In other news, I've planted about 100 bulbs for the spring,  raked some leaves, put the down comforter on the bed, finished my first sweater of the season, and sewed about 70% of my Halloween costume.

Yep. Looks like fall.

[PS - want a sneak peak of my Halloween costume or other projects in process? Check out my twitter account! ]



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