Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mystery Dish: Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping

This month I’m participating in a new, fun challenge with twelve new and old blogging friends [well, this month it’s eleven but still!] It’s called Mystery Dish, and the premise is this: each month, one blogger will create a mystery box of ingredients. Ingredients can be themed related to a cuisine, a meal, a season, a specific ingredient, or anything else creative. Then, the other eleven bloggers have to create a recipe using some of the ingredients. SO FUN!

mystery dish collage

This month, the ingredients we had to work with included the following:

Cheddar Cheese
Maple Syrup
Peanut Butter

Thanks to Dani and JT at See Hubby Cook for brainstorming this challenge and the first month’s ingredients!

Of course, I like to make things difficult for myself and even though I knew this post would be live right around the date of our move [yes, we are in NASHVILLE now!], I wanted to include as many ingredients as possible, and managed to make a delicious dessert utilizing all ingredients but one. Peanut butter sadly was excluded, but all the others make an appearance in this fabulous pie-crisp!

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping |

What is a pie-crisp, you may ask? Well, it’s something that was intended to be a pie but fell apart and as such, resembled more of a crisp than anything. No matter what you call it, Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping should be called delicious because that is exactly what it is.

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping |

Let’s go through this fabulous dessert, shall we? It starts with a crust studded with shredded cheddar cheese. For appearance, I’d recommend using white cheddar, but since I wanted to use things up before the move, I just used a basic sharp cheddar. The filling is apples [Gala + Macintosh, but tart would be good next time too] sweetened with maple syrup and warm cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and vanilla. Simple, perfect, wonderful. I think I’m in love with maple apples now, and might try that in my next batch of applesauce.

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping |

Lastly, this pie-crisp is finished off with an oat-based crumb topping. Ben’s addition to the recipe [I say addition, but he actually made the crust himself while I lay miserable on the couch with a cold–go Ben!] was to cook up some bacon rubbed with brown sugar which he then crumbled on the pie as it cooled. The salty-sweet bacon was the perfect, surprising finishing effect to each bite of warm apple pie-crisp. This is a dessert I can’t wait to make again and again!

Be sure to check out the other recipes for this month’s Mystery Dish at the links below. Have a great Monday!

Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic: Soft Baked Maple Bacon Cookies
Allie @ Baking a Moment: Apple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes
Dani and JT @ See Hubby Cook: Apple Bacon Cheddar Soup
Kat @ I Want Crazy: Brie, Apple, Bacon Grilled Cheese  
Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats: Apple Cinnamon Crepes with Maple Mascarpone Topping
Amanda @ The Taste Tester: A Fall Inspired Apple Chicken Salad
Sherri @ The Well Floured Kitchen: Cheesy Bacon Monkey Bread
Christine @ I Dig Pinterest: Peanut Butter Apple Crisp
Meriem @ Culinary Couture: Apple Peanut Butter Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze
Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy: Apple Muffins with Nut Crumble Topping

two years ago… Butternut Squash Apple Soup
three years ago… A Different Kind of Meatloaf

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping [crust from Martha Stewart]
click to print


for Cheddar Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

for Maple Apple Pie Filling

  • 8 cups apples, thinly sliced [peel or not–your choice]
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

for Bacon Crumb Topping

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar + more for bacon
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter


First, prepare pie crust. Pulse together flour and salt in a food processor several times, then gradually add butter, pulsing in between additions. Pour in water tablespoon by tablespoon until mixture begins to hold together–it shouldn’t be wet/sticky. Add cheese, pulse until combined. Add more water if dough is dry, then turn out onto clean countertop. Shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour or better, overnight.

When ready to make pie, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pie dough from refrigerator and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

To make filling, toss together apple slices, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust on floured surface, then press into a 10 inch pie pan. Fill with maple apple filling, then prepare crumb topping.

Toss together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Cut in butter with pastry blender, then sprinkle evenly on top of pie.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

After temperature is reduced, place bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub with brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove and degrease, then crumbled over pie before serving.

Time: 3 hours or more [including time to chill dough].

Yield: 8 servings.

Desserts, Pies, Recipes

SRC: Pineapple Cream Pie

It’s a Secret Recipe Club Monday! They are my favorite Mondays so I’m excited. 🙂 This month I made a great Pineapple Cream Pie to share with you. And I wish you were here with me now I so I could give you a piece, because it’s a sweet, creamy, tropical treat. We loved it!

Pineapple Cream Pie |

If you’re new, you might be a bit confused. SRC? What’s that? Let me explain. It’s a pretty amazing blogging club. Basically, the premise is this: you’re assigned a different member’s blog every month. You visit their blog, choose any recipe you want, then make it and share it on your blog… all while keeping your assignment a secret! Everyone else posts about their secret blog the same day. It’s fabulously fun to try out new blogs. If you have a blog, definitely check it out and consider joining! I highly recommend it.

When I was assigned Lisa’s blog, before I even started perusing her recipe index, I knew I had to make a dessert recipe, no question about it. I mean, with a blog called Sweet as Sugar Cookies, how could I not?!? Lisa is such a sweetie [word choice –> totally on purpose!!]. She’s from Hawaii [how cool is that?] and she’s been baking since she was 12, so she has tons of great recipes on her site. Her passions aside from baking include her faith and her family, both of which come through so clearly on her site. When trying to decide what to make, so many things sounded delicious, but I pretty much narrowed it down quickly to this pie or ice cream. I just got an ice cream maker, and have yet to test it out. I think that all of her ice creams sound divine [especially spicy peanut butter, ginger, or cherry] but I wasn’t able to clear the freezer out quickly enough to make that happen. Sad day. So pie it was!! And guess what–making this pie was not a sacrifice at all. It was so tasty!

Pineapple Cream Pie |

This Pineapple Cream Pie is a snap to whip up–you basically make a flavorful vanilla pudding on the stovetop, stir in crushed pineapple, and pop it all in a baked pie shell to chill for awhile. When you’re ready to enjoy a huge piece, just top with Cool Whip or whipped cream. I used Cool Whip, and as you can see, it was a little melty. Though this pie won’t win any beauty contests [mine at least… Lisa’s is gorgeous, and she has a great family story to tell about it too. Check it out here!], the taste is just incredible. I made my pie in my fail proof pie crust, but feel free to use your own recipe or even a store bought crust. Ben and I ate this as part of our 4th of July meal, and have been snacking on it ever since. I’ve seriously never had anything like it… I want to say it reminds me of Banana Cream Pie, but it really doesn’t, so you’ll just have to try out this fruity cream pie for yourself. I can just imagine eating it on the beach in Hawaii… how perfect would that be? 🙂 Mmmm. Thanks, Lisa! Enjoy!

Pineapple Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print
pie from Sweet as Sugar Cookies, crust from Simply Recipes
Pineapple Cream Pie via - a creamy, tropical treat!Ingredients:

for the crust

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen for at least 15 minutes, but better 1 hour to overnight
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3-6 tablespoons ice water [very very cold water]

[You can also substitute your own pie crust recipe or a storebought crust.]

for the pie filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained [crushed pineapple to equal about 1 packed cup]

for topping

  • 6-8 ounces Cool Whip or whipped cream


To make pie crust, begin by freezing 8 ounces [1 stick] unsalted butter, cubed into very small pieces. Preferably, this will be done the day before you want to make the crust, but the butter needs to freeze for at least 15 minutes to an hour for ultimate flakiness.

After butter is frozen, combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse several times. Add half of the butter and pulse 6-8 times, then add the rest and pulse 6-8 more times. At this point, the dough should resemble cornmeal. Add ice water tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing in between additions. I usually use about 4-5 tablespoons water, and the goal is to make the dough just hold together when you pinch it.

Turn dough out onto a clean countertop and gently knead it together to form a disk. You should be able to see pieces of butter–this is good, and will cause it to be flaky. Cover  disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour [or overnight].

When ready to bake pie crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Let dough come to room temperature for about 5 minutes, then roll into a 10-11 inch circle on a floured countertop. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate, then lightly spray with cooking spray and cover with aluminum foil. Add pie weights of some type [pennies, dried beans, rice] to the top of the foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pie from oven, reduce heat to 375 degrees, and remove foil and pie weights. Return to pie to oven and bake for 12-18 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fully cooked. Set aside to cool while preparing the pie filling. [At this point, crust can be cooled and covered until the next day.]

To make the pie filling, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch, flour, milk, and egg yolk in a large saucepan. Whisk together until smooth–yolks beaten, cornstarch and flour making no lumps. Set saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken as you go, and once boiling, let cook for 1 minute and keep stirring. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter melts, then add crushed pineapple. Stir and add to baked pie shell.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow filling to firm up, then top with Cool Whip or whipped cream as desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!

P.S. For more great SRC recipes, check out the links below! 🙂

Tuesday Talent Show on Chef in Training

Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Peach Ginger Pie

Peach season is almost over… so sad. Just this weekend Ben told me that the thing he’ll miss most about the summer farmer’s market [as opposed to the fall or winter ones] is peaches. They have just been so juicy and sweet this summer! And while I know that fall doesn’t officially start for a few more weeks, some of us [like me] have already gotten into that fall mindset… craving pumpkin anything, wearing scarves, and praying for cool temperatures. Check, check, and CHECK. Oh wait, I was praying for cool temps in like July. But wait! Hold up! I still have some yummy summer recipes that I want to share… because goodness knows I rarely make the same thing twice [so many recipes, so little time], so waiting til next summer to make a recipe again just isn’t happening. So I need to sneak in some more peaches, tomatoes, and other yummy summer foods now before it’s too late for you to get some and make some of these great things, like this awesome-incredible-I-can’t-believe-this-is-gone-I-want-more-now Peach Ginger Pie.

I know many people are intimated by making pies, specifically making pie crust, but people! Hear this! It is not hard. Butter, sugar, flour, water, salt. Mix, chill, roll. Presto, pie crust. Mucho better than storebought. And look what you can do with it!

This crust from Simply Recipes has become my default pie crust over the past few years, after I made a bunch of pies for a church event. [Ten in one day. What was I thinking, deciding it was a good idea to make pie for 80 people?] If you click on the link, there are great directions and photos for how things should look every step of the way, as well as tips for sweet vs. savory pies for the sugar content etc. It’s a great resource, and the crust always comes out perfectly light, buttery, and flaky, the perfect vehicle for whatever filling you choose. Or you can just munch away on unbaked pie crust as you’re rolling it out like I do… anyway…

In this case, my filling of choice was a simple blend of peaches, sugar, and ginger. I didn’t use a lot of sugar, so if you like really sweet pie, feel free to increase the amount of sugar used. However, if you have good, quality peaches, then just a bit of sugar [white + brown for diversity] and a smattering of freshly grated ginger will be just perfect! Those simple flavors play off the fruit really well. We loved the slight spice of the ginger–it was just enough to not be overpowering, but enough to make an impact. Even though I JUST said that I rarely make the same thing twice… I think next summer I might have to eat my words because this is just SO good. Other recipes, other smecipies. This is where it’s at!

Oh, and next summer I’ll have to try my hand at a better lattice crust. This was my first attempt! 🙂

Peach Ginger Pie [crust from Simply Recipes, filling slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print



  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water, very cold


  • 6-7 cups peaches, cut into 1/3-inch slices [Deb says this is about 3.5 pounds or 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small. I did not peel my peaches but if you want to, check out the instructions on this post.]
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


for the crust

Begin by placing butter cubes on a sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap into a loose package–don’t worry if some of the butter touches, but you don’t want it in a giant clump either. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, but between an hour and overnight is preferable.

After butter is chilled, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add half of the butter cubes, and pulse 6-8 times to incorporate. Repeat with other half of the butter. The goal is to make the butter pieces look like tiny pea-sized pieces at this point.

Add water tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing in between additions. The goal here is to get the dough to barely clump together in the food processor. I usually add about 6 tablespoons maximum–it’s best to take the lid off and test the clumpability with your fingers. Check out the photos on this post to get a better idea about what I mean.

Remove dough from food processor and place on a clean countertop. Divide dough in two and form into discs. Wrap with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before preceding.

If you have a smaller food processor, you might want to make each disc of dough individually. My [1980s] food processor can accommodate all that flour and butter, but it just comes out better if I employ a bit of patience and half the recipe and do everything twice.

for the filling

Toss peaches with lemon juice. Add sugars, ginger, and cornstarch and toss again to coat.

to assemble

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator about 5 minutes before you want to roll it, just so it isn’t quite so cold and is easier to roll.

Generously flour a clean countertop, unwrap one disc, and place on floured surface. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of dough, then start rolling from the center out. I usually roll a few times in one direction, then switch gears and roll in another place to keep things even. Some directions advocate turning the dough as you roll, I find that difficult but just try different methods [Google and YouTube are your friends] and see what works for you. It’s just dough–you can always ball it back up and start again. Basically, the goal is to get the dough to form a circle with a diameter of about 12-13 inches and a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Pick up dough, folding in quarters loosely if necessary to carry, and place in pie pan. Press it gently into place, and trim any overhang to about 1 inch.

Add filling over top bottom pie dough, then roll out other disc of dough for the top. Follow the same instructions as before if you want to make a regular lidded pie, otherwise, cut into even 1/2-1 inch strips for a lattice top. Place half of your strips over filling evenly in one direction. Then fold every other strip back up to insert a new strip the opposite direction, repeating until all strips are used. [I know those aren’t very good instructions, but again–Google and YouTube are your friends–I just eyeballed it and it all worked out]. Gently crimp together rim of bottom crust with lattice strips.

Brush crust with milk, water, or egg as desired for shine, and add a little decorative sugar. Place pie pan on rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills, then place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Oh! Be sure to check crust earlier than 30 minutes–mine started to get pretty golden after 15 minutes at 375, so I just covered it with foil.

Let cool for 3 hours before cutting to let the filling thicken if you can! Store leftovers in the fridge or covered on the countertop. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, and enjoy!

Time: A good 3-4 hours, minimum. But active time is definitely less than an hour.

Yield: one 9-inch pie, about 8 servings.

linked up at Life as Mom’s URS: Pies.

Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Winning: Reese’s Blondie Pie

So, I don’t know about you, but I had a pretty exciting weekend. I mean, not to brag or anything, but it’s not every Saturday that you WIN A 5K!! Check it out–I was the first female finisher out of 500-some runners and walkers of an awesome semi-local race: Run Through the Jungle 5K. I got a trophy and everything!

Sarah with her trophy after the 5K race.My finish time of 22:20 wasn’t amazing, but it was pretty good considering most of the hilly course was on gravel roads and the last 3/4 of a mile had plenty of sharp turns. And I mean, it was obviously good enough to be the top female finisher. Ahh! I’ve only won a couple other races before in my life–a JV cross country meet where the top runner got lost, and a JV track meet that had only a few participants anyways–so this was so thrilling. But you know what’s better than winning? Knowing that the race was for a good cause.

Most people haven’t heard of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, located in tiny Center Point, Indiana, but it’s one of the largest rescue centers in the country for abused, unwanted and neglected exotic felines. Their heart for taking care of these animals is just huge, and if you’re ever in Indiana, especially in the Bloomington or Indianapolis areas, be sure to take the time to visit because you’ll be within an hour of the EFRC. Don’t go expecting a fancy zoo atmosphere, but go expecting a fun walk through the jungle to see many lions, tigers, bobcats, and more. It’s absolutely awesome there!!

tiger up closeBen and I have been twice now, and loved getting to run there, supporting the animals… and oh, winning too. 🙂 Here’s a write up of the race from a local paper. And speaking of winning… this recipe for Reese’s Blondie Pie is a winner, too!

Soon after we got married, I experimented with blondie recipes to find the perfect one: it’s buttery and vanilla-y, cooked to just the right ratio of chewy/crunchy perfection. But this time… instead of leaving them plain, I added a little bit of spunk–a winning combination of chocolate peanut butter bliss. Yes, I added some Reese’s! Best decision ever.

Oh, and I baked it in a pie pan to make it reminiscent of the cookie cakes I loved sharing with my sorority sisters in college. What can I say? There’s just so much winning going on here that I can hardly believe it. Reese’s. Blondies. Pie-like cookie cake. College. Sisters. Exotic Felines. Oh, and a race. This is gonna be a great day, I know it! 🙂

Reader Question ~ What’s winning for you today?

Reese’s Blondie Pie
click to print


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt butter then remove from heat and stir in brown sugar with a wooden spoon until it dissolves. Quickly add egg and vanilla, stirring until well incorporated.

Fold in flour mixture [batter will be thick], then press into prepared pie pan. Top with chopped candy, pressing into mixture with the back of a wooden spoon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set at center. Serve warm.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 8-10 servings.