Pie lady baketh
By KAREN SCHWALLER
RINGSTED – It’s a long and curvy path around the lake that leads to the farm home of John and Janice Birkland near Ringsted.
But once inside the door, a person might be greeted by the warm and soothing aroma of a pie baking, since that’s something Janice Birkland said she enjoys doing.
She bakes pies often for her family, and even on occasion for friends and special occasions in the community or through her church.
“My mother was a very good cook,” Birkland said, “and I think they had to be back then.
“My favorite thing to make for a meal is dessert. My mom taught me a little bit about making pie, but I learned about it mostly after I was married. It just takes a little practice.”
Part of pie making that is fun for Birkland is deciding what kind of pie to make. She said there are so many kinds, from baked fruit pies, to fresh fruit refrigerated pies, to cream pies, to pies with meringue.
“I love to do meringue,” she said.
One of the most unusual kinds of pie recipes she said she has discovered is bumbleberry pie, which is made up of many different kinds of fruit.
“It’s not a cheap pie to make, but it’s really good,” Birkland said. “I found the recipe in a magazine.”
Birkland said she has tried many pie recipes but has never ventured out to create original recipes.
“I might change something in a recipe that I find, but I’ve never made a recipe of my own for a pie,” she said. “I really like trying to make things that other people have made, and asking for recipes.
“I think it compliments people to be asked for a recipe, and it makes me feel good to be able to make those things for my family.”
A stay-home farm wife and mother all of her married life, she said she feels strongly about focusing her attention on her family. Part of that, she said, is cooking healthy meals.
“I love it when the kids and grandkids are all home and cooking for them,” she said. “It takes a lot of time, but I’m so blessed to have such wonderful children and (in-laws), and I think they all enjoy it when I can cook for them, too.”
She said she fed her growing family “a lot of meat and potatoes” back in the day, and did a lot of grilling.
Now that her children are grown, she still finds it important to feed her husband and anyone who’s around at meal time, with healthy food.
“Since I’m home, it’s really a lot easier to do that,” Birkland said. “A balanced diet is so important.”
Birkland said she had a large garden filled with vegetables and some fruits while her children were growing up.
Today, she grows only tomatoes, asparagus and a few other vegetables.
“The farm has been such a wonderful place to raise our family,” Birkland said, “and it’s a great place for the grandkids to come and visit,” Birkland said. “Kids in town don’t get to experience this kind of life.”
The Birklands recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.
2 cups chopped, peeled apples
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon tapioca
Combine fruit, sugar, flour and tapioca. Place in unbaked pie shell.
Top with 1 tablespoon butter, but in pieces. Top with second crust; seal and flute edges.
Cut slits on the top crust. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until crust is browned and filling is bubbly.
Cool on wire rack. Wonderful served with ice cream.
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 8-ounce carton whipped topping
1 package Strawberry Junket
Beat first three ingredients together. Fold in whipped topping. Place in cooled, baked single crust.
Prepare one-half package of Strawberry Junket according to box directions (one package will make two pies.) Cool.
Add fresh strawberries and place on top of cream cheese mixture. Top with a dollop of whipped topping, if desired.
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rhubarb cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Sugar to sprinkle
2 pie crusts
Combine sugar, tapioca and salt. Add rhubarb and strawberries.
Mix to coat fruit. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Fill unbaked pie crust with fruit mixture. Dot with butter, and cover with another crust. Seal edges and cut slits on top. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and fruit is bubbly.
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and margarine to rolling boil in saucepan.
Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball. (About one minute.)
Remove from heat. Beat in eggs all at once. Continue beating until smooth.
Drop dough by scant cupfuls about three inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool away from draft. Cut off tops and fill with white chocolate filling. Frost and refrigerate until serving time.
I package instant white chocolate pudding (can use vanilla or cheesecake also)
1 1/2 cups milk
Scant 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Whisk for 2 minutes. Add whipped topping.
Place in center of cream puff, and top with chocolate frosting.
3 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons milk
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 or 4 large marshmallows
Melt margarine. Add milk and sugar. Bring to boil for one minute, while stirring.
Remove from heat and add chips and marshmallows. Stir until melted. Frost cream puffs.
(Birkland said she uses this frosting recipe for almost anything else that call for chocolate frosting.)
Aunt Edna’s blueberry-rhubarb jam
10 cups chopped rhubarb
10 cups sugar
4 3-ounce packages of cherry Jell-O
1 can blueberry pie filling (raspberry or strawberry pie filling works well, too)
Place rhubarb and sugar in microwave for 18 minutes to start to liquefy, then place on stove.
Bring mixture to boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t scorch.
Add Jell-o. Stir well and add blueberry pie filling.
Pour into clean and sterilized glass jelly jars and top with paraffin. Freeze.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk, or 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tablespoons vinegar (let set 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 3/4 cups flour (may need a little more)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and margarine.
Blend in egg yolks, sour cream, buttermilk, soda and vanilla.
Sift and add flour (adjust to make stiff dough), baking powder and salt. Mix and chill overnight. Roll into strips and form into knots or figure 8s.
Place on cookie sheets, bake 8 minutes (or until lightly browned). Cool on wire rack.
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