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Has anyone ever used Jam exclusively as Pie Filling?

I have children at home that dislike the conventional pie filling featuring whole cut up pieces of fruit suspended in a blob of cornstarch-- but they love fruit pastries with the filling being almost like a jam-like fruit puree.

I'm trying to make a pie that would have a nice, sticky, thick, jam-like Strawberry filling but am a bit worried.

Will jam work as an adequate pie filling? It won't be too sweet will it? Jam also gives off the appearance of often being quite a firm semi-solid also, instead of like pie filling.

And would it be better to make my own jam, so I could control the sugar to fruit ratio?

Any advice is welcome.
Thanks for the help anyone can offer.

Mar 07, 2015
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Improving my Pie Filling

Thank you so much for your reply! Pulsing it in the FP sounds like a great idea!

As for your question on pre-cooking the filling, since I am working with frozen berries do you think pre-cooking the filling would also be a step in the right direction along with pulsing it in the processor or no?

Dec 09, 2014
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Improving my Pie Filling

Hi all!

I would like to create a pie filling for my ''Hand-Pies'' at home wherein the fruit has been broken down and softened up to a somewhat runnier jam-like sauce/consistency. This type of filling is usually found in pastries like Guava pastries or Toaster Strudels (first picture) as opposed to the whole-cut up pieces of intact fruit suspended in a glob like most commercial pies (second photo).

Can anyone give me some clues on how I can get close to achieving this? Guava pastries usually use paste, and for something like Blueberries just isn't an option. The filling doesn't seem to be exactly like jam either.

Dec 09, 2014
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Is it true that Spices and Rubs do nothing except burn off?

I had two chicken thighs. I used about 3 tablespoons of rub for each one. Completely burned off! Roasted in shallow pan.
450 degrees. 1 hour, and some minutes.

Complete burn! And way over-salty! Yuck!

May 23, 2014
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Is it true that Spices and Rubs do nothing except burn off?

Is this true in anyone's experience? The rubs and herbs I put on lately haven't been as well pronounced as I would like for the huge amounts i usually put on there.


Maybe rubbing the meat with the spices after it's well cooked would make the rub stand out that much more instead of burning 3/4ths of it off during the cooking process?

What do you think?

May 22, 2014
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

The best way to season chicken?

I have exhausted every way possible of trying to seasons a whole chicken only to end up with flavorless breasts!

From brining, to vac tumbling, to injecting-- I am still getting an unsatisfactory product.

I honestly believe that the only way to get the breast seasoned all the way through is to simply cut up the whole chicken into pieces.

My question is simply.. what to do from there? Brine? Marinade? Dry Rub? Paste? Vac Tumbler? How do you guys season your chicken to perfection?

Feb 17, 2014
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Is it okay to tell butcher to add in more fat?

Is it okay to tell the butcher to grind and in more fat to my burger-- say 30-35% more?

This will be my first time requesting the butcher to do something like this and I am wondering if they will say no or if it is against the rules or something.


Nov 28, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

Thanks, Tom34! I've been following your great posts on beef for a while and this is exactly what my father told me also!

I think sirloin would be awesome. Can't wait to start

Nov 05, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

I have finally tried both Pat LaFrieda's and 5 guys... Pat La Frieda, you mostly taste Chuck-- well at least I did. You would do better just sticking locally. You could also taste the brisket and a tiny bit of shortrib.

5 guys on the other hand-- did not have as pronounced of a chuck flavor. Either this was due to their fat to meat ratio or from other meat ratios (maybe even a brisket or sirloin, it seems).

That being said... I've pretty much narrowed it down.

Studying the tests of Kenji from Serious Eats and following up with my own quests for beefy goodness... the leading cause of flavor SEEMS to either be the cut of meat and/or a GOOD amount of fat.

This is nothing new to any of you here, however by "GOOD amount of fat" I mean much much more than the mere 20%. 20% that keeps getting mentioned here. 20% simply does not cut it for someone like me. Most of your best burgers from places like In and Out come with beef that has up to 30+% FAT!

Sure enough, when I added much more fat to my meat ratio, I tasted an outstanding amount of tenderness, liquid retention as well as an increase in umaminess.

Now, to retest using this new fat ratio using different cuts of meat, individually :
shortrib, brisket, chuck, sirloin and finally prime rib.

Nov 05, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

What's the appeal of Biscotti?

Is it that it's low calorie?

Or is it because it pairs well with coffee? I don't drink coffee, so I wouldn't know.

For how expensive these things are, these "cookies" really are not that great tasting-- particularly the plain ones that aren't covered in chocolate.

They remind me of the cookies I made when younger, when I overworked the batter, and the cookies came out cakey and stiff.

Nov 05, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Picking the fat for Burger?

Is it as easy as going up to the butcher and telling them to add a certain percentage to the meat you plan on buying?

I've never done this before

And secondly, for anyone that is added bacon fat, thumbs up or thumbs down on the experience? I'm wondering what will bacon fat add to the flavor that the regular beef suet won't?

Oct 26, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

Just ordered some today! *Crosses fingers* You give me so much hope.

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

This is tremendous! I can't wait to buy and try! Thank you!

Oct 22, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

I could have sworn someone on here told me Steak N Shake uses T-bone?

Oct 22, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

Thanks! I'm 20 btw. This is a very interesting post that gives me quite a lot to think about. Shake Shack and Steak N Shake-- both of my favorite hamburger places-- uses either T-bones or Porterhouses, so your comment really strikes home with me!

I have had burgers that were like umami BOMBS going off in my mouth that were so good that it felt like I was in beef heaven.

And the very mediocre-tasting burgers that I keep bringing home to cook are nothing close!

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

I finally went to one of the best butchers in the South Florida area for Ground Chuck, only to bring it home and found it to make a boring, slightly bland/dull burger.

Does anyone have another cut to recommend me to try that actually tastes like restaurant-quality?

Pat LaFrieda's original blend is next on my list to try. After that. I'm giving up.

Oct 20, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Any tips for someone new to cooking beef?

First time in college cooking beef for myself instead the frozen commercial porocessed stuff
What cut should I start off with?

Burgers are my all-time favorite, followed by steak-ums cheesesteaks, and then arby's roast beef.

I'm on a tight budget also. Is Chuck Roast and Chuck steak the most ideal for me?

Oct 12, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Tom34, Supermarket Ground Chuck for Hamburgers

Oh... also... here's the link to Tom34's post:

Oct 04, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Tom34, Supermarket Ground Chuck for Hamburgers

Hi, all-- I put Tom34's username in the topic to direct his attention here also as he really seems to know his info on this topic.

Me, 19, and my older brother have been trying to make burgers out of the ground chuck from the the local supermarket chain (in Missouri ShopNSave) for months, and every time the burgers end up horribly.

We choose the fattiest cuts (80/20) in the vacuum packed tubs and if we cook the burger to medium rare the burger falls apart on us. If we cook it well done the burger is dry... and the worst part is... the meat despite at what level we cook it at has a very strong flavor (i dont really know how to describe it -- liver-like) that comes through and overpowers the meat. We have seasoned the meat with all types of spices, added breadcrumbs, ground our own meat using the vacuum packed-chuck roast, even upped the fat ratio to 30% and this unwanted "taste" is still there.

When eating burgers at longhorn or other steakhouses, this strong flavor is notably absent and the beefiness and umaminess of the burger is so tasty that you don't even need any condiments on it. In fact, I have to tell the waiter to go light on the salt as the beef itself is so flavorful.

My question is... what gives? Like Tom34's states, supermarket beef works wonderful for tacos, spaghetti sauces and other applications where the surface area is broken down and the spices and other flavorings can penetrate and somewhat make up for the lack of umaminess in the meat. The same cannot be for a plain hamburger.

Does where you shop at for meat really make this much of a difference? From Tom34's posts and from my own experience, it certainly does seem this way. Where should I go from here?

Oct 04, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Indian Grinder/Mixie vs Food Processor

I'm at college and I only brought my Preethi inidan wet/dry mixie instead of my food processor.

Can the mixie/grinder basically function the same as a food processor for choppin, puree-ing and mixing cold butter into dough for biscuits?


Jul 16, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Cookware

Improving my cheese palate?

Hi, all...

I, recently bought some Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar in search for more flavor in my cheeses as all I've had before is the bland regular Kraft mild cheddar as well as their part-skim mozzerellas which I am tired of.

And while CBarrel definitely had a much more intense cheesier flavor that i enjoyed-- I couldn't help getting past how BITTER Sharp cheddar is compared to mild.

I really like cheese and would like to experience more, but would hate if my taste buds would limit me to only certain kinds. How can one learn to improve their palate and advance forward past this? How did any of you do it, initially?

Also.. any suggestions on any somewhat good-quality yet affordable cheese to buy would be helpful (I've always heard Cabot is one of them, and I will try them out). Thanks, all.

May 29, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Cheese

Where do you go for grapes in Florida?

Went back to the same Farmer's Market today... and sure enough on the label the bag said "from Chile".!

Even if I were to wait for the fall to buy the grapes in season, what places would have them?

Where do you go for grapes in Florida?

Your run of the mill grapes at the Publix supermarkets are alright tasting... but I'm looking for something a bit "better".

After going to a Farmer's market down the street, and finding them selling the exact same grapes packaged in the exact same bagged labels-- I'm beginning to wonder if that is all there is to choose from.

Where do you go for great-tasting grapes in Florida?

Tracking Seasonal Fruits?

After about 10 threads reading up on the different fruits in season in south Florida-- I'm getting the picture that most good local fruit is only in season locally during the fall.

Yet according to this chart from this website:

It shows almost all of the fruit being almost year-round?
What gives?

I know chowhounders would know best on this one-- and as I am new to both Florida and Farmer's markets or any of this stuff (my family only shopped at supermarket chains, this is all completely alien)-- would really appreciate if anyone could clear this up or just post a link to a better website for me regarding fruit seasons. I can't stand dealing with finnicky supermarket chain fruit anymore.

Dried Fruit is just as bad (calorie-wise) as Candy?

Is it true that Dried Fruit-- such as raisins in your trail mix-- is really no better (calorie-wise) than candy?

Just looking online, raisins for a quarter-cup are 100 calories already?!

Imagine that plus a fistful of nuts of whatever liking, and what is supposed to be considered a healthy trailmix is now equal to that of a snickers bar!

This is disheartening because when trying to cut out the sweets, people usually tell you to rely on dry fruit instead-- only to find out that this stuff is just as bad, and that will have to be cut too. Sigh.

Good-tasting fresh fruit is just so finnickey to find at the big Supermarket chains like Publix. What to do?

Mar 08, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in General Topics

Meat Markets/Butcher- North Miami?

Sorry for not getting back to you in time mutti. I forgot all about this. Not to worry! I love your posts!

Very informative for someone just getting here and trying to find things out! Thank you so much!

Supermarket Pie Filling Goopy?


All my life I've pretty much have been turned off by the pies my mother buys in the supermarkets.

The pastry is okay, but the pie filling could best be described as pieces of apples suspended into a blob of fruit-flavored goop. It almost has the consistency of very very thick mineral oil or castor oil. I just don't like this.
It's hard to describe but it's sort of the same semi-gelatinous stuff you get when you bite into a cheap jelly doughnut.

I guess I'm looking for something that would have more of a natural fruit, jelly or jam feel to it rather than goop. Am I the only one whom feels this way? Is it the cornstarch that is doing this? Looks like I will need to start making all of my pies instead of buying.

Jan 07, 2013
SmallSteps3000 in Home Cooking

Meat Markets/Butcher- North Miami?

I lived in St. Louis, MO. even though I was in the suburbs-- there were not many shopping options so we had to stick with the supermarket chains.

Your posts are so helpful and inspiring. I'm pretty sure I've made up my mind and will be sure to check out Penn-Dutch as my go-to place! Thanks

Meat Markets/Butcher- North Miami?

Hi, mutti. I just called and they said they would be willing to grind anything I want. Perfect.

I guess it's a toss-up between this place and Laurenzos.

Meat Markets/Butcher- North Miami?

I would assume it being an italian market that they would be willing to grind meats also, right?