Oct 25, 2012

Pie, Pie, Me Oh My...

"Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry all at once, so well it's pie. APPLE! PUMPKIN! MINCED an' WET BOTTOM!  Come to your place everyday if you've got em' PIE! Me O my I LOVE PIE!"
I love to bake! I have always loved to bake. It isn't something I learned to love out of necessity like cooking after I got married. I love everything about it... I love the smells. I love the warmth of the kitchen from the hot oven. From the crack of the egg to the first gooey, warm, sweet bite I am home...my kitchen is filled with sweet smells and sweet memories of laughter and love with friends and family.

But alas, I digress...we're talking pies not reminiscing.  And as you may well know all baking is not equal. I have been terrified of pies the whole of my baking life. Oh, this is not to say that I haven't made them. I love pie too much to abstain wholey from its delicious presence in my oven. But, each time I am left with all these questions...How to get the crust flaky, tender, and sturdy? How to create beauty and preserve flavor? How to assure the filling is as flavorful as the crust? and I could go on.

Recently, I decided it was time to face my fears...i mean I am woman, right? Here me roar...?

I of course went to Pdub because her style and flavors most resemble my own and because she often has great tutorials. After a quick "pie crust" search I found "Pam's Pie Tutorial"...I got to work right away on the beautiful pie creation you see above. 
APPLE PIE! Truly the quintessential pie flavor, right? If I can make a great apple pie I can make a great any kind of pie.  Not only did this tutorial help me slay my fears but actually made me begin to feel like a master. Yes, after only one pie creation I am feeling like a master pie baker :) The crust was flaky, tender and oh, so very delicious. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed the flavor of pie crust but I never knew it could taste like this...buttery, warm melt in your mouth goodness. My husband and I just couldn't stop talking about the crust or the filling for days after.

If you too have pie fears that you have long wanted to conquer then here is the tutorial for you! (I don't usually promote other sites on here but this one deserves it and some:)

PAM'S PIE TUTORIAL - Although, I am including the basic recipe below. I suggest you click the hyperlink and check out the full tutorial. Which gives detailed information on what fats to use and why (I have said bye, bye to Crisco forever), rolling techniques and filling tips.

This is the recipe I used. It is PAM'S recipe and this is what she says...

This is the recipe I use.  I didn’t invent it. It can be found in many places and is as old as the hills. Keep in mind that the fat in the recipe can be any kind. Butter or a butter/lard combination can be substituted in any recipe that calls for shortening or other manufactured fat.
This is my go-to recipe for a flaky, beautiful two crust pie. Any time that I want a more sturdy crust, like when making a slab pie or a tart, I will use all butter for a total of one cup per recipe.
For a nine inch, two crust pie:
2 ½ cups all purpose or pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sugar (for a fruit pie. Omit sugar for a savory pie.)
¾ cup cold butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup cold leaf lard, cut into chunks
¼ cup cold water
Mix the 2 cups of the flour, salt and sugar together lightly in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the butter and lard chunks and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or by pulsing the food processor. The mixture should look like large crumbs and begin to cling together in clumps. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix lightly or pulse the processor two or three times.  Do not over mix this flour. It should coat the clumps.  Sprinkle the water over the dough and with hands or a wooden spoon mix in until dough holds together.  Shape the dough into two discs. (see the full tutorial for "Rolling Techniques")