Strawberry Basil Custard Pie

It has been hot here in Sonoma County for the past couple weeks and I needed to make a cool summer dessert for a luncheon event. I headed down to the farmer’s market to see what inspired me. I picked up a few baskets of strawberries and also a bunch of basil. The amazing smell drew me in. There is nothing like fresh local strawberries on a hot day and a strawberry basil custard pie would fit the bill.   I paired the filling with a vanilla wafer crust and a mascarpone whipped topping.

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Strawberry Rhubarb


Yet another pie that is magical childhood memory, strawberry rhubarb. While it is fairly easy to get strawberries year round, at least frozen in the winter, rhubarb is often hard, if not impossible, to come by outside of summer. So take this summer season to take the opportunity to bake this lovely pie. The tart flavor of the rhubarb pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberries. While I would like to say the ingredients came for my veggie garden. They do not, as my strawberry patch has not taken off like I hoped. Luckily, here in Sonoma County there are abundance of farmer’s markets to pick up fresh strawberries and rhubarb. You might even come across some varieties of strawberries you have never heard of . The pie also has wine country twist, as the fruit is macerated in cabernet sauvignon.

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Bocce Plum Pie

So why is it called Bocce plum pie?


Every Wednesday, my husband Tim helps his father Lou at the Healdsburg farmer’s market. This Wednesday, Lou brought out a box of plums and said they were bocce plums. The plums came from the beautiful trees with crimson purple leaves that lined the bocce ball court on the property. The funny thing is that they are supposed to be fruitless trees. At this point nobody could remember the exact species of plum tree. so Lou just called them Bocce plums, even thought the label on the box says Hollywood. The perfectly ripe plums just screamed to be put into a pie. The pie came out slightly tart, but flavorful. I decided to add some canned almond paste that discovered in the new grocery store in town to bottom of the pie. The almond flavor paired well with the tart plums.

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Simply Apricot

Apricot pie brings back many fond memories of my childhood. I grew up on five acres of what used to be a portion of my grandparent’s apricot farm in the San Jose foothills. Every summer when the fruit had ripened my father brought the old wooden orchard ladders and picking baskets.   Up and down the ladders we went picking the ripe fruit off the trees. Of course, we ate a few along the way. I must say there is nothing like a fresh apricot off the tree. Most of the apricots were used for drying, but mom always set aside some to make a delicious apricot pie. Usually the grocery store does not have fully ripened apricots. Most them are tasteless hard balls, but the other day I spotted a few at the store that looked delicious. This pie is one of the simplest pies that I have made so far, but I think it is one of the best.

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Sarah’s Pie Crust


Double Crust

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold cut into ¼ in cubes
  • ½ cup coconut oil cold cut into ¼ in cubes
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • 1 egg for an egg wash (optional)

Single Crust

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter cold cut into ¼ in cubes
  • ¼ cup coconut oil cold cut into ¼ in cubes
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 egg for an egg wash (optional)

The Process

Sift flour, sugar, and salt together to make sure they are thoroughly combined.

Cut in the ½ cup of cold butter that has been cubed. I personally use a food processor for this, but you can always do this with your hands or pastry blender.

Pulse the processor six times so the mixture ranges in size from breadcrumbs to lima beans. Then add in the coconut oil to the mixture. (You can always use vegetable shortening instead, but I personally like the flavor that the coconut oil gives to the crust of the pie. Pulse six times or cut the oil in till it resembles the same consistency as the butter addition.

Now it is time to add the chilled water to the mixture. I add a small amount at time to make sure the mixture does not become to wet. The mixture will have a crumbly look to it, but comes together when you work it with your hand on a flat surface. Split the dough in half into packages if doing a double crust. Let the dough chill at least an hour in fridge before using it.

Maple Apple Pecan

The first time I made this pie was around Halloween, so I was gearing up for the holiday pie making season. Generally I am not a huge fan of pecan pie, as it is a little too rich for me, but I thought I would try a little twist by making it an apples pecan pie. The pie tasted just like a candied apple covered in pecans. When making this pie be sure to drain as much liquid as possible off the apples so that the pie is not too wet. Otherwise it will not set properly.


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Winter Fruit Pie

I was tasked with making a pie for a New Year’s Eve party so I was thinking of making something that reminded me of winter. I looked through various recipes for inspiration of combinations of fruit. Most combined apples, pears, and some sort of dried fruit. My original idea was also use persimmons and fresh cranberries, but non were to be found at the store. Instead I opted for the unsweetened dried cranberries that could be rehydrated with the bourbon I had purchased for my eggnog. The result was pie reminiscent of mince-pie.

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Bourbon Pecan Brownie Pie

A rich fudgy brownie with ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, so why not brownie pie. I originally used a recipe straight off the internet for the first go around, but it came out cakey and did not have a very rich in chocolate flavor. So it was back to the drawing board for me.  I bumped up the amount of chocolate and decreased the amount of flour. These two changed made for a very rich fudgy dense filling, plus I added a hint of bourbon. I chose to use pecans because my husband had an aversion to walnuts, so if you prefer walnuts please use walnuts. Making these simple changes got me to the desired consistency, thick and fudgy.

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