The first step, of course, is the crust! Now every pie recipe in the history of mankind will tell you to use ice cold water. I tried once or twice and it was harder to roll out and have, since then, used lukewarm water. I knew that centuries of pie masters could not be wrong so I checked out a book from the library about the art of pies (Pie it Forward by Gesine Bullock-Prado) and decided to try her recipe down to the "t" and use the ice cold water (as well as chilled butter and chilled flour). I also used the food processor to mix the ingredients rather than the 2 knife method. And let me tell you what a difference it made! The dough rolled out so smoothly and transferred to the pie dish without a single crack!
I use butter because it makes a flaky and smooth crust even though it can make the edges of the pie shrink up. I think it tastes much cleaner than shortening which leaves a distasteful film in your mouth afterwards even though shortening makes a more picturesque crust. I was going for flavor today! (I have never used lard because we never buy it...)
Me rolling the pie dough out in the apron I sewed a few years ago from a retro inspired pattern!
Beeeeeautiful! (Crust recipe below)
The recipe I used was found randomly on the PBS website (link below) and worked out pretty well! My only complaint is that the pie is still a little juicy so maybe more cornstarch could have been used! I must also disagree with the egg wash on top. In my opinion, the egg wash does make the crust browner, but it is so inconsistently brown that I would rather do without it. Now my pie looks like this:
(A cherry pie I baked last summer)
But oh well, the fact is, it will taste delicious and no one but my immediate family will see it, so no one will turn their nose up at its looks! But I am so excited to try more experimenting with this new pie dough, I can make all sorts of decorative crusts now!
With the extra dough, I rolled it out and cut little squares so I could put some canned date nut filling we happened to have on it and make little pastry pockets! I folded them and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or so at 360 degrees and they turned out pretty good for blind baking!
Over all a pretty good baking morning! I just wish we had a nice pie crimping tool so the edges of the top could be nicely crinkled and a pie server so the pieces would come out smoother! (Some more presents to add to the birthday list!) ;)
Have you baked anything recently? Anything you tried differently that made all the difference? Comment below, and happy baking!
Crust recipe ingredients:
"2 cups cold flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 cup unsalted chilled butter
1/2 cup ice water
1 tsp lemon juice"
Bullock-Prado, Gesine. Pie it Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes & Other Pastries Reinvented: New York: Abrams books, 2012. Print.