Stir Crazy: Another winning pie, plus late Chinese New Year stir-fry

News-DemocratFebruary 3, 2014 

I met a wonderful baker last month during the Pie Day Contest at The Pie Pantry in Belleville. Her name is Dian Auth and she's from Belleville. She was very excited to have won first place for her wonderful Triple-Chocolate Pudding Pie. She was also liked the idea that her name and photo would appear in the paper. Then, I made a mistake. I called her Donna instead of Dian in print. Now, I wrote down Dian in my notes when we spoke at the contest. But somehow, when I went to write the story about her, I got it wrong. We ran a correction in the paper last Wednesday, the day after the story appeared in this column, but I just don't think it was enough to apologize for my brain not working right! So, Dian, I hope you see this. You made an outstanding pie! (I ran the recipe last week as well.)

I ran out of room last week in running the winning recipes from the contest. This is Marianne Schaefer's third-place winner. (She also took second place with her Coconut Cream Pie.) Marianne likes to uses a pie bird to vent excess steam while baking. She said her sister, Marge, shared this recipe with her, having found it in "Baking for Friends" cookbook.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie

Marianne Schaefer

Top and bottom crust for deep-dish pie

2 tablespoons gingersnaps, crumbled


3 cups fresh raspberries, or 12-ounce package of frozen raspberries, unthawed

3 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb

11/3 cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle cookie crumbs on bottom crust in glass pie plate.

Toss berries and rhubarb with sugar, flour, cream, lemon juice and vanilla until evenly coated.

Place pie bird in the center of the bottom crust. Spoon filling into pie shell and top with butter pieces.

Center top crust over pie bird and filling and flute as desired. Cut four 1-inch slits almost to the center of the pie crust.

Place pie on baking sheet to catch any dripping. Bake until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly in center, about 11/2 hours. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

I also didn't get a chance to use any Chinese New Year recipes last week. The Year of the Horse began Jan. 31. Here is a fairly simple stir-fry to try.


12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-size slices

2 tablespoons egg white, lightly beaten

2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

4 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 navel orange

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 medium green pepper, julienned

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

Combine the chicken, egg white, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons rice wine and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir until the cornstarch is totally dissolved and no clumps are visible.

Add 2 teaspoons of the oil; stir to combine. Refrigerate, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Combine the broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, the remaining 2 teaspoons rice wine and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl.

Zest the orange; reserve the zest. Remove white pith from the orange with a sharp paring knife. Working over a bowl to catch any drips, carefully slide the knife on either side of each membrane to free the orange segments, letting segments fall into the bowl.

Heat 1 quart water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Reduce the heat to low. When the water is barely simmering, carefully add the chicken, gently stirring so that the pieces do not clump together. Cook until the chicken just turns opaque but is not cooked through, about 1 minute. Carefully drain the chicken in a colander, shaking the colander to remove any excess water.

Heat a 14-inch wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok; add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant, 10 seconds.

Add the bell peppers and red onions; stir-fry until the bell peppers are almost crisp-tender, 1 minute.

Add the chicken; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Restir the broth mixture; swirl it into the wok. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, 1 minute.

Stir in the orange segments, zest and any accumulated juices.

Serves 4, each with 257 calories, 11 grams fat, 63 mg cholesterol, 13 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 1,008 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Grace Young, author of "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"

Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail,; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

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