Hooray for Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix!

We were beyond excited when we learned about Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix. Sure, GF pie crust was achievable before, but it was a bit hard on the grocery list. So now you have it, the perfectly packaged, pre-measured quantities needed for flaky, all natural, gluten-free pie crust. It’s impressive… easy to use and more importantly the the taste is spot on,  making it one of those GF items that most people won’t know is GF until you tell them!

Given the time of year, we decided to whip up a gluten-free sweet potato pie filling to fill the crust: RECIPE HERE! For those not familiar, sweet potato pie is really similar to pumpkin pie in terms of flavor and texture and is a Thanksgiving staple on many dining room tables. Kudos to the south for making it so popular.

Bob’s Red Mill is doing a very cool promotion right now where you can enter to win a bundle of awesomeness, including their new gluten free pie crust mix, a custom Bob’s Red Mill PieBox(!) and more… Easy As Pie, Check it out HERE.

GF Pie



Baking with Pumpkin

While pumpkin carving season is behind us, pumpkin baking season has only just begun! And we love baking with pumpkin… pies, cake, tarts, and muffins. The best pumpkin-baked goods are from scratch, using fresh pumpkin puree. Sound complicated? It’s not! Plus when you use a fresh pumpkin, as a bonus you get the seeds too! And they make for a delicious (and healthy) little treat.

PUMPKIN AND SEEDS

 

Pumpkin Puree, let’s do it.

1. Pick the right pumpkin: you want a sugar pumpkin or “pie” pumpkin. You can get them at most grocery stores during the fall months.

2. Chop off the stem and gut the inside (just like you would do if making a jack-o-lantern.)

3. Save the seeds! Wash and dry them, then toss in a bit of olive oil and salt then toast in a 300F preheated oven.

4. Cut your pumpkin in half, and then lay each side face down on baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast the pumpkin at 400F for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the flesh is tender and a table knife can easily be inserted.

5. Let cool, but while still warm, scoop of the flesh and puree with a blender or food processor. Discard the skin.

Done. You now have fresh pumpkin puree. Let  your pumpkin baking imagination run wild!



Bucktown Apple Pie

We love the fall for so many reasons…changing leaves, cozy weather, fall flavors and apple pie being baked in kitchens across America! One of our favorite annual events in Chicago is the Bucktown Apple Pie Contest. This year was the 9th annual contest and as usual, it was a lovely day eating crazy delicious pie from many talented Chicagoland bakers. Plus all of the proceeds from the event benefit the historic 100-year-old Holstein Park.

Congratulations to the 2013 finalists and THANK YOU for all of your delicious apple pie!

Bucktown Apple Pie



The Martha Stewart American Made Market

Last week we went to New York to be part of a pretty amazing event: The Martha Stewart American Made Market.  For three days, Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall was transformed into a beautifully curated market, featuring a handful of insanely talented small businesses. It was an honor for PieBox to be a business on that roster. If you missed it, no worries, you can still see (and purchase from) many of the Martha Stewart American Made sellers (including PieBox!) via the Online Store.

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There were so many amazing and beautiful goods at the market. Here are some of our faves from the show:

SAUSAGE   —  GROWLER  — SNAKE OIL  —  ORNAMENTS  

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The Great Apple Pie

We love fall for so many reasons… weather, colors, pumpkins, warm and cozy spices… but we really love fall because it’s the high season for apple pie. We get a lot of questions about apple pie, many about the process and construction. Here are some tips to make your next apple pie an easy-breezy process!

1. Cold Dough: Whether you use butter, lard or shortening, your pie dough needs to be chilled when rolled and formed. Warm dough is no fun; it will shrink and be more likely to break.

2. Uniformity in Apple Slices: Like when cooking anything, larger pieces cook slower and smaller pieces cook faster. To ensure uniform cooking, keep your apple slices around the same size.

3. Lattice or Cover? Either are great and make for a beautiful pie. Just be sure to cut vents if you are doing a full top crust.

4. The Prefect Golden Top: Use a cream-based egg wash to brush your top crust, then sprinkle with sugar. Many recipes (including ours) tell you to cover the top with foil after the first 20 to 30 minutes of baking… don’t skip this step or your crust will be too brown. And if you have an oven with “hot spots: rotating your pie is a good idea.

5. Apple Type: LOCAL! Apples picked locally or that come from a local orchard when in season are going to have the best flavor. Some of our favorites for apple pie making are: Granny Smith, Gala, Empire, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady.

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Check out our apple pie recipe in the BAKE Section.

 

 

 



Meet Megan Branagh

She’s both a friend and an amazing pastry chef. Megan and Adrienne went to pastry school together and became instant friends when paired together to make muffins on the first day of class. (Thanks for that Chef Heidi!) Now, three years later they remain great friends who bake together often. We are thrilled to be sharing some of Megan’s brilliant recipes in our Bake section. Oh, and if you ever find yourself in Birmingham, Alabama, stop by Octane Coffee… Megan whips up many of their baked goods!

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Hi, thanks for stopping by.

 

Thanks for checking out our new blog and website. Here you will find lots of cool stuff that we love and think you should know about. But first, here is a little bit about us, the people behind PieBox. We are a creative team of three – two in Chicago and one in the great state of Tennessee.

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Together we create wooden boxes for carrying pastries – right now pie, cake and cupcakes specifically, but more to come…promise. Our products are designed to be simple and functional and we hope to make them part of your everyday life.  We are very lucky to have amazing and talented friends and are fortunate  to work with many of them regularly. We believe in and support American business, so rest assured that every product we sell is made  in the U.S.A.

And don’t be shy, we like hearing from you. Have a question, thought or special request? Email us, call us or you can even mail us a letter. Happy baking from the team at PieBox.