Friday, November 26, 2010

A Word (or two) about Pie

As I mentioned in my last post, pie is a very important thing in my family.  Since the time I was little, my grandmother started teaching me to make pie, from scratch of course.  At first, it was just helping her do it. But as I got older, it was definitely focused on making sure I could execute such an important task on my own.  I learned how best to cut shortening into flour, how to roll out the crust without handling it so much that it would get tough, how to successfully transfer it to the pan, what to glaze it with, and all those other little tips and tricks that aren't in the cookbook.  Eventually, as my grandmother got to old to really be able to host holiday meals or even just bring pies to them when my mom hosted them, I took over the pie baking.

Since doing this, I've made a few changes and additions to what I learned with my grandmother, much of which I have Martha Stewart to thank for.  So here are my personal pie making preferences:
1) Always use butter, not shortening or even lard (ew!).  You wouldn't eat a cinnamon coated baked apple with Crisco on it!  But butter, that's another story.  So, why would you make your pie crust with shortening?
2) A food processor is your best friend and helper.  Making one pie crust with a pastry dough blender is one thing.  However, I usually make a minimum of three pies, if not four or more.  If I use a food processor, I can make up all the crust for these in a FRACTION of the time it would take to one pie crust by hand.  And, use a good and powerful one, with a strong motor.
3) I like spices.  A lot.  So, if it calls for 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg, I put in a slightly rounded 1/2 tsp. instead and so on.
4) I also like as natural of ingredients as possible.  Organic pumpkin puree for the pumpkin pie, a recipe with heavy cream instead of evaporated milk, etc.
5) For special holiday pies like Thanksgiving; make 'em pretty.  I have a set of tiny leaf, acorn, and pumpkin cookie cutters to decorate the crust with instead of the basic fluted shape.
6) Do an egg wash brushed on the crust.  This gives it a really nice color and sheen.  I make mine with an egg yolk and a 1T of heavy cream.

I am sure I could go on and on.  I do love pie.   That's, I'm sure though, enough for now.  So, I'll leave you with a picture of my pies for this year.  I made Maple Pumpkin, Huckleberry (a Northwest favorite!), and Apple.

No comments:

Post a Comment