What I Learned from Making Pie (Recipe to follow)

Like every other recipe post I will do this one the same.  I will ramble on about the food, and then give a recipe.  For those that do not care about my ramblings please feel free to jump down to the recipe section.

I love pie, more importantly it was always the one thing I could make that I knew my grandmother would love.  I still use her recipe with a few changes.  I use honey instead of sugar, and slightly different crust ingredients.  Pie is that one thing that you can mix and match ingredients anywhere you find yourself.  You can find the ingredients everywhere.  Today I made a pie with Rhubarb and strawberries from my yard and honey from the farmers market.

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I learned from making pie that life should be:

 

 

  1. The best things are messy.
  2. Stay fresh by being eclectic and using whatever is at hand.
  3. Be flashy by being bold.

Pie can be almost anything wrapped in dough and baked into a flaky yummy mess.  The best pies are a mess, that is something I feel deep down.  If your plate and fork are not covered in sticky goo you futilely attempt to scrape and lick off the plate then that pie was not the best pie it could have been.  Pie like life should be as messy as possible.  The term the kids use (I think) is a hot-mess, though a pie at times can be a cold or cool mess.  Things do not come out in nice cute little slices if the pie was done right.  It seeps and spreads across the plate in dark colors like a thick goo.

Pie should be a free to be whatever is fresh.  There should almost never be a reason to use frozen or stored fruits or foods.  Pie can be anything and everything mixed together and cooked to a flaky deliciousness.  I made a rhubarb, huckleberry, and ghost pepper pie.  Spicy and yummy.  I have added chicken and cilantro.  Cherries and strawberries.  Pineapple and mango.  You name it you can make a pie out of it.  I am living proof of this.  Be eclectic and use whatever is at hand.  Do not be afraid, be original and bold.

Pie should be flashy.  Pie should look sexy.  It should be color and syrup covered in a golden blanket.  When you make pie, it is going to taste good almost no matter how bad you mess up the looks.  This gives you freedom to take those chances to make sure it looks good.  Pie should not be a limp pile in a tin pan.  It should be a thing of beauty, a thing of style, a thing of panache.

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do, and experiment as much as you can.

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The Recipe:

Notes on the Recipe:

My grandmother complained that my first few pies were a bit runny.  Mostly likely because I use honey instead of sugar.  To fix this she told me that once you complete the pie and the oven is preheating put the pie in the microwave for 15 minutes.  This will help get everything combined and thickened.  To do this I switched to ceramic pie plates.  They are wonderful and I recommend them anyway.

I recommend trying a standard pie crust style the first time, and get fancy once you get everything down.  Fancy styles can be how you close the crusts on the edges or even if you cut the dough into strips and lay them out crisscross on the pie.  The top crust will give you a multitude of chances to do something cool.

Once the crust is on the pie I like to sprinkle cinnamon on the top before cooking.  If you do a meat pie or a different style of fruit you can use many many things to sprinkle.  I did a chicken and plum pie (my plum tree gave me enough to make plum sauce) and sprinkled paprika instead of cinnamon.

Crust

If you want to make crust, then here is the recipe I use.  Store bought is available, but come on, let’s make a nice buttery crust.  For an open-faced pie, you will only need to make this recipe once, for a pie with a top crust you will want to make two balls, or complete the recipe twice.

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (I use a nice non-GMO organic flour that is a bit wheatie, but still nice.)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup of butter (dice it up and chill it, 15 minutes in the freezer should do.)
  • ¼ cup of cold water

Combine the dry ingredients as well as you can.  Add in the diced butter and stir until the butter and mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  They call this “cutting in” but what I understand is to mix as well as you can, and then add water a tablespoon a time.  Stir as you add water until the mixture is able to form a nice smooth ball.

Wrap the ball in plastic and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  I usually make the crust the night before and let it sit in the fridge all night.

Once you are ready to make the pie roll it out to a large circle of thin dough big enough for the pie plate you are using.

 

Pie, the yummy, yummy Pie

Alright this gets simple.  I am going to say Rhubarb, but you can use any fruit.  The core idea is to add it up to the 4 cups.  For example, a strawberry rhubarb pie will replace 1 to 1 1/2 cups with strawberries.  It is simple, don’t overthink it.  Make great pie.

  • 4 cups of Rhubarb
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (I replace this with 1 cup of honey. For those of you that are not aware every 1 cup of sugar equals about 2/3 cups of honey (I always round the final number).  If the mixture comes out too wet the next time add about ¼ teaspoon extra of baking soda per 1 cup of honey.  The honey will make it darker.).
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Mix the salt and flour together nicely before adding the sugar/honey.  Once these ingredients are mixed toss in the rhubarb and stir some more.  Everything will cook and mingle once in the oven so do not feel the need to spend an hour on the mixing.  Just get it done quick and rough.

Take your rolled-out pie dough and lay it out in the pie pan.  Push in all the corners at the bottom and let it hang over the sides.  This gets dirty and the dough often rips, just scrunch the dough back together.  Do not be afraid to get your hands in there.  Once the dough is ready spoon in the filler.  Honestly, I just dump it in and spread it out.  I get looks when I do this, but it works, and it does not seem to hurt anything.  Once everything is in and patted down dollop the butter along the top.  I have no idea what this butter does, but you dollop it here.  Dollop at this point seems to me to dot it around the fruit and make it look buttery before dropping in the last of it.

Cover the top with the second roll of dough.  Start on one edge and connect the two pieces of dough by twisting them together at the edge.  Slowly turn the pie plate around as you twist and twist and twist again.  Once you get full circle the pie will be mostly complete.  I like to take a fork and make cute scrunched edges for the crust, but there are a massive number of cool things to do here.  I suggest googling some ideas and give them a try.  Remember that the final result is going to taste the same either way, so experimentation with styles and looks should not be intimidating.

Cut lines through the top crust to allow hot air to escape.  A sharp steak knife works well.  Make sure the cuts are through and large enough that when the pie starts to bubble they stay open.

Sprinkle some cinnamon around the top and wrap tin foil around the edges.  I have a silicon pie edge thing I use, but tin foil works great.  This tin foil is to protect the edges from burning.  About 20 minutes before the pie is done remove the tin.  Honestly sometimes I forget to remove it, but it seems better when you remember.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Cook for 40-50 minutes.

The crust should look toasty brown or tan what they call golden.  Pull it form the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

Enjoy your pie.

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Please comment below on the strangest pie fillings you have used.

 

 

If you like the pie and the post remember my Fry Bread, Kimchi, Hawai’ian Poke, and Bread posts.  I am considering creating a page of substitutions to help with future recipes.  Until then remember to read my books and try some recipes.

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