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Locals share favorite pie recipes for the holidays

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— A good pie recipe has a way of sticking around - to plates, forks, ribs and recipe cards.

In Routt County, where residents often bring their family's tried-and-true pastry secrets to the Routt County Fair each year to compete, the top recipes can become a community legend.

In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, the Steamboat Pilot & Today collected some of those recipes from a network of local baking experts and enthusiasts. Each concoction is time-tested, and many of them have heritage that reaches outside of Routt County.

Katie Fletcher and Judy Siettmann's coconut macaroon pie recipe came from a former co-worker with the U.S. Forest Service; Fletcher and Siettmann since have brought the pie to the United Methodist Church's annual Fall Fare.

Marsha Daughenbaugh's peanut butter pie comes from an aunt on her husband's side of the family. The amaretto in the recipe can be switched out for vanilla extract, but, as Daughenbaugh said, "Why would you do that?"

Alice Lund's pecan pie recipe comes from a cookbook from a catering class she took at Iowa State University in the early 1950s. Five decades later, the pie has become a family favorite.

Mary Ann Ninger came up with her apple-pear hazelnut streusel pie during years of working as a pastry chef, and she said it's a combination of desserts she's crafted in that time.

All the recipes collected here are suitable for any level of pie-maker. Test a few out before Thanksgiving sneaks up Nov. 27, and be sure to stock up on Cool Whip and vanilla ice cream for garnish.

Baking tips

Tips for a perfectly flaky pie crust, from pastry chef Mary Ann Ninger:

- Ninger divides the fat in her pie crusts between butter and shortening to keep the flavor of the butter without sacrificing the flakiness that comes from the shortening.

- Too much water can make a pie crust gummy, and too little can keep it from coming together. Add water a little at a time to make a nice, pliable dough.

- Chill the dough before rolling so it has time to rest, but also chill it after it's been set in the pie pan. Chilling dough in the pan allows the crust to hold its form during baking.

- Depending on the filling, you might want to pre-bake the crust. Ninger recommends pre-baking for any kind of no-bake, chilled filling, or for fillings with low bake times, such as fruit compotes. Fillings with longer bake times, such as pumpkin or pecan, do not require a pre-baked crust.

Pecan pie

Submitted by Alice Lund

3 eggs

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup light corn syrup

½ cup pecan halves

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

1. Beat eggs. Add sugar and salt, and mix well.

2. Add corn syrup, pecans and vanilla.

3. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry, and pour in pecan mixture.

4. Bake in a hot oven at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Finish baking in a slow oven at 325 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set.

5. Let cool.

Coconut macaroon pie

Submitted by Judy Siettmann (via Katie Fletcher)

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup soft margarine or butter

¼ cup flour

½ cup milk

1 ½ cups Baker's Angel Flake coconut

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

1. Beat sugar, eggs and salt.

2. Add butter and flour. Add milk. Fold in 1 cup of coconut.

3. Pour it into an unbaked crust and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

4. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes.

5. Let cool.

Peanut butter pie

Submitted by Marsha Daughenbaugh

3 cups milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

1 cup sugar

½ cup cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chunky peanut butter

¼ cup amaretto (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

1 9-inch pie shell, pre-baked

1. Combine milk and egg yolks until blended. Heat in a microwave or on the stovetop.

2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt.

3. Combine sugar mixture with heated eggs.

4. Boil the egg and sugar mixture until it's thick (also can be done in the microwave). The mixture shouldn't be runny, but it shouldn't be so thick a spoon could stand in it.

5. Cover the thickened egg and sugar mixture with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator.

6. Once the mixture is cool, take it out of the refrigerator and stir until creamy.

7. Add peanut butter and amaretto; stir until blended.

8. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate.

9. Serve chilled.

Pumpkin pie

Submitted by Elaine Gay (recipe given to the Steamboat Pilot & Today in November 2007)

Pie crust:

1 ¼ cups flour

½ tsp salt

½ cup Crisco

4 tablespoons cold water (might not have to use all of it)

1. Mix ingredients, adding cold water as needed to make a workable dough.

2. Roll the dough thin, place in a pie pan and flute the edges.

Pie filling:

1 ¼ cups pumpkin (canned or cooked)

1 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ginger

1. Mix pumpkin, sugar and spices well.

2. Add beaten eggs; stir until well blended.

3. Add milk and mix thoroughly.

4. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and finish baking.

5. When the pie is done, a knife inserted near the edge of the pastry will come out clean.

6. Let the pie cool. Serve with whipped topping.

Pear-apple pie

With hazelnut streusel topping

Submitted by Mary Ann Ninger

Pie crust:

Roll out a from-scratch or store-bought pie shell and line 9" or 10" pie plate with a single sheet of pie crust dough. Chill in refrigerator while preparing filling and topping.

Pie filling:

4 large pears

3 large apples

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Peel, core and dice apples and pears into half-inch cubes.

2. Toss the fruit in large bowl with sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.

Hazelnut streusel topping:

6 ounces (12 tablespoons or 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and then ground

1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla lightly.

2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon and ground hazelnuts in separate bowl.

3. Add to butter mixture and mix just until crumbly.

Assembly/Baking:

1. Evenly place fruit filling into chilled, prepared pie shell.

2. Top evenly with streusel topping.

3. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

4. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Dutch apple pie

Submitted by Dorothy Lindahl

Pie crust:

1 cup flour

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup butter-flavored Crisco

2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

1. Measure salt and flour in a sifter and sift together into medium bowl.

2. Cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Sprinkle in water a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with fork. Add water until dough is just moist enough to hold together.

4. Shape into ball and roll lightly on floured surface. Lace into pie pan without stretching. Trim edges.

Pie filling:

4 cups peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples

5/8 cup sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1. Mix all of the above together and pour into pie shell.

Topping for Dutch apple pie:

¾ cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup butter

½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Mix together in bowl to form crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle over apple filling.

2. Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes, covering top with foil if browning too quickly.

3. Let cool slightly, and serve warm.

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