Austin Bakes for Japan

The recent tragedy in Japan has been absolutely heart breaking to watch. With each day I always hope I’ll hear that things are getting better, and I’m amazed how the people of Japan have handled this dire situation. I admire their strength, civility, and ability to think beyond their own personal problems and unselfishly do what’s best for their community. Speaking of community, the one I love – Austin – is doing its part to help Japan, and you can too.

The Pie Society is a proud business partner of the Austin Bakes for Japan,  a bake sale fundraising event to help survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan happening April 2 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in five locations across the city. More than 70 home cooks and dozens of local bakeries will be contributing baked goods at locations throughout Austin with proceeds going to AmeriCares work in Japan. Since there are only two of us at The Pie Society, we will only be at the Westlake location selling full pies and Crimps. So be sure to come by and purchase as many baked goods as you possibly can for this amazing cause.

For all of the details visit the Austin Bakes for Japan website and visit any of the five locations to get some baked goods and more importantly help the citizens of Japan.

Until we see you out at the fundraiser, we wanted to share a delicious pie recipe (I kind of melted on the spot when I tasted this the other day) with you in case you would like to bake something up yourself.

The Pie Society’s Lemon Cheesecake Pie

For the pie crust*:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water

For the pie filling:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

For the crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the shortening, flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly and smaller than pea-size. Add the water tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing it with a pastry blender or fork until the dough clumps and sticks together (usually 6 to 7 tablespoons total). Don’t overwork the dough. Pat the dough into a ball, add a little flour to the top of the dough, so the rolling pin won’t stick, and on a lightly floured, smooth surface, roll out the dough evenly into a circle. Roll out the dough so it is larger than the circumference of the pie pan by an inch. As a trick, we roll the dough around a floured rolling pin and then unroll it onto the pie pan. Press the dough firmly into the pie pan. We like to tuck the extra inch of dough hanging over the edge of the pie pan under, so it makes a fluted edge. Prick the crust thoroughly on the bottom and the inside edges, so the crust won’t bubble up. Cook at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden. While crust cools, make filling.

For the filing: Combine all ingredients, pour into prebaked pie shell and chill.

To serve: Place fresh raspberries or strawberries in a circle on top of the chilled pie and sprinkle with freshly grated lemon zest.

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