Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pie's The Limit

There is something universally appealing about pie; the smell of spices and sweet fruit bubbling in the oven, the initial crackle of crust leaving traces of flakes on the plate leading to a soft gooey and syrupy center which can only best be described as a symphony in the mouth. If you are anything like I am, this oftentimes also includes the sensation of taste buds searing when you just can't seem to hold out for that 30 minute minimum 'cool time'. The season is upon us to dutifully dig up the usual suspects in the holiday dessert department- apple pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, etc, which only brings me to the question, don't people ever get tired of eating this $#!% ? Now granted, if your family's custom includes baking one of the afore mentioned pies lovingly by hand to a grandmother's traditional recipe, well, I applaud you, loudly. But most folks will be faking it this fall, committing high treason among the foodie set, by purchasing store bought or frozen pies. Fall's greatest forgery. This act of culinary counterfeit is an unforgivable offence (at least in my presence), which should be punishable by a swift and immediate removal from the kitchen. No matter what Rachael Ray or Generic Mom Magazine X tells you, dumping canned pumpkin pie filling into store bought refrigerated pie dough is not cooking, and no, you are not fooling anyone. If you take the time to look at the typical mile long ingredient list on these products you should somewhere in there see "fortified nastiness" clearly printed.

Making pies from scratch is an art, but fortunately one that can be easily mastered (with a couple of practice rounds if necessary), you just have to want to do it (and if you don't please just let someone who does take over in the kitchen). And while you are at it, things up a bit and throw some nontraditional ingredients in there! I made this cranberry apple pie for Thanksgiving last year (one of many), and it was the hands down favorite. In an attempt to broaden my own personal pastry prospects, today I branched out from my perfect pie crust recipe (the very first recipe ever featured in this blog) and practiced an entirely new technique featured in a fellow foodie blog I have tapped into recently, Chez Pim. Creating a pie crust with nothing more than flour, salted butter, and water, the dough was a dream to work with, as promised, and incredibly sturdy, which made the lattice crust an absolute breeze. This particular dough, though seemingly intimidating to blend together, would be the ideal dough for a beginning baker, as it does not break apart easily and won't be quickly toughened by re-rolling. Even if your first attempt is a misshapen disaster, I promise your children wont care and will still beg to lick the plate (and most likely your husband will do the same). Once you get the hang of homemade dough, you can get as sweet, as savory, or as crazy as you want- the pie's the limit!

Cranberry Apple Pie

pie crust no.1 or pie crust no. 2 (do not defile this recipe with a store bought crust)

12 oz cranberries (3 1/2 cups)
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and coarsly chopped
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 TBS quick cooking tapioca (this acts as a thickener- if you do not have any you could sub flour)
fine zest of 1 lemon with a splash of the juice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 egg beaten with 1 TBS water for egg wash
coarse turbinado sugar for sanding (optional)

-mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl
-roll the bottom crust out into an approximate 12 inch circle and line the pie plate leaving a slight overhang
-dump the filling in
-roll the next dough ball into an approximate 11 inch circle and place on top (you can get fancy with a lattice crust if feel up to it, weaving cut strips of dough, or simply cut some slats in the top dough once placed so the pie can vent while cooking)
-to help seal the edges dab with a little bit of water, crimp closed, and brush the top with the egg wash
-bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 375 and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until desired shade of brown and bubbly is reached
-allow to cool completely (if you can)

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, yum!
    We ALWAYS make pies from scratch in my house for the holidays!