A Hankering for Pie

strawberry pie slice

Recently, I became unafraid to make pie crust from scratch. It happened when Miss Priss I needed to bake a pie after she won a persuasive writing contest at school. We had to bring in the pie she described in her essay for a class pie tasting. I put off making the pie until the last minute– as in really late the night before it was due– and I was forced to make a homemade pie crust since I could not get to the grocery store at that late hour to buy a pre-made one. Turns out, they are not that hard to make, and you really do notice a difference. I’ve tried a few different recipes and prefer the crust recipes that use Crisco as opposed to butter (see links below).

sugar and cream pie slice

Miss Priss’ winning pie was a Chocolate Brownie Drizzle Pie from Paula Deen. Tonight we are having Strawberry Pie and last week (in honor of Pie Day) we ate this Sugar and Cream Pie that was heavenly.

Strawberry Pie Ingredients

  • 1-2 pints fresh strawberries, stems and leaves removed
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 1 9-in. baked pie shell
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Directions

  • Cut 1 pint strawberries into bite sized pieces and line the bottom of the baked pie shell with the strawberry pieces. I quartered the strawberries and dropped them into the crust, but you could slice them and place the slices evenly around the shell to make the pie more decorative.
  • In a saucepan, bring to a boil 6-8 whole strawberries with 3/4 c. water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Combine cornstarch and sugar and add to the berries.
  • With a whisk, stir constantly until the mixture is clear and thickened. Pour thickened strawberry mixture through a sieve to remove any chunky pieces.
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the strawberry liquid.
  • Pour liquid over the strawberries in the pie shell. Chill several hours.
  • Serve topped with whipped cream.

strawberry pie

Notes

  • If you do not chill the strawberry pie long enough, the strawberry syrup will be runny and not hold together when you slice the pie. This does not affect the taste of the pie, but it looks pretty messy.
  • The original Crisco pie crust recipe can be found HERE. I use milk in place of the water.
  • Pioneer Woman has a good Crisco pie crust recipe HERE.

pie crust transfer

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Hidden Gems: The Missing Golden Ticket

hidden gems missing golden ticket

“Writing process” is a big catch phrase in the education world, and students will do everything possible to complete as little of the process as possible. The writing process involves reflecting on your own writing and actually making noticeable changes and improvements.

The Missing Golden Ticket is a book of Roald Dahl writing secrets and includes tidbits about Dahl’s process for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It includes a chapter from the Chocolate Factory book that was edited out before publication. Readers get to learn about Dahl’s original story and character ideas, which are very different from the published book. This book is a great option to illustrate an author’s journey through the writing process.

If you love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you might also like these gems:

Floors by Patrick Carman

  • Instead of a candy factory, this book is set in a hotel. Each room of the hotel has a different crazy theme. The book also has a duck side story, which made me think of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. I wrote to Mr. Carman, the author inquiring about the ducks, and it is an allusion to the Peabody Hotel.

floors cover

Candymakers by Wendy Mass

  • A group of children are selected to participate in a candy making contest. The book is broken into parts, and the same events are retold in each part of the story but from the point of view of a different character.

candymakers cover

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

  • This book is set in a toy factory, but like Charlie, the kids in the story have to survive the challenges and be the last one standing.

gollywhopper games

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

  • Using clues from books, people try to be the first to win the scavenger hunt. It is set in San Francisco and mixes whodunnit with literary references.

book scavenger

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

  • This combines library and literature knowledge into a scavenger hunt. It’s like Book Scavenger meets Gollywhopper Games.

mr lemoncellos library cover

For more Hidden Gem book ideas, CLICK HERE. Some of my teacher blogging friends are sharing more great-but-often-forgotten book titles! To purchase activities related to The Missing Golden Ticket, CLICK HERE.

Parent Help

cell project complete

Mr. Star Wars just completed a science cell project– at home. While he could have completed the entire project on his own, this is one of those projects that a parent is probably going to have to offer help in some way. In our case, I drove to the grocery store to buy supplies and helped with formatting his written explanations on the computer. How much help is too much? As a teacher, if I send a multi-day 3-D project home like this, I know parents will be involved. The key is to provide only enough support that you do not “compromise the integrity” of the student project.

cell project close up

Parent Dos

  • Read through the project assignment sheet and directions with your child.
  • Brainstorm a list of supplies and tentative “plan” for completing the project with your child (what to complete each day, so you finish by the deadline). This is a conversation that can happen at the dinner table or in the car on the way home from school.
  • Source supplies (make a trip to the grocery store, Michael’s crafts, hardware store, your pantry/junk closet at home).
  • Reread the directions with your student when the project is finished to make sure the student has completed all of the requirements.

Parent Don’ts

  • Write anything.
  • Rewrite anything.
  • Build anything while a child stands to the side and watches.

Good Project Supplies

If you have class projects come home more than twice a year, I would recommend investing in some common project supplies and saving a few items that can be hard to get when you need it at the last minute. I love having these items on hand at the 11th hour!

  • shoeboxes
  • paper cutter
  • cardstock– assorted colors (Astrobrights are great!)
  • Avery labels– small and large size
  • one set of Sharpie markers in bright colors

cell project