Saturday, July 10, 2010
I will be honest with you, i have never made a pie before. i didnt grow up making them with my grandmother, i dont have any sort of urge to make them on a regular basis, and to be honest most of the ones i have had didnt blow my mind. if i am in the mood for sweets i will usually make a cobbler of some sort, or just ice cream and macerated (sugared) fruit. two years ago this wouldnt of bothered me, more and more though i have to be aware of the experiences i am lacking in the kitchen. pie definitely falls into that category. the kicker here is i can make a pie crust. the ratio (3prt flour, 2prt fat, 1prt water) is the easiest to remember in the kitchen, and i know the method. so enough excuses, lets get to it. with a tad of proding from my wonderful wife i made a chicken pot pie the other night. while that may not qualify as a sweet pie, the crust is essentially identical and i was a bit safer with the savory approach. regardless it turned out excellent and was a big crowd pleaser. i dont have a Cuisinart type food processor, and i dont want one. i hate all the parts, and cleaning all the parts. i have a small processor that attaches to my immersion blender that is just perfect for pureeing sauces. i did this in my kitchen-aid, but it can be done by hand as well. flour (12 oz) went in to the work bowl with the paddle attachment, the fat (butter 8 oz) was very cold and cut into small chunks was blended in slowly until it stated to just get a course meally texture, the ice water (i actually used less than the 4oz the ratio suggests) goes in slowly just until it comes together. remove the dough from the bowl and wrap tightly in plastic then refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to keep the dough cool. roll out as desired. some recipes will call for the addition of sugar in the crust as well and i dont agree. if you are making a sweet pie the filling should be where the sweetness is. leave the crust and the ratio be. i perforated (poked holes in it to allow steam to escape) the bottom layer of the dough, then filled it with my pot pie mixture, then just covered it with the rolled out remaining crust. nothing fancy. about an hour later i had a perfectly flaky golden brown crust. i am at the drawing board with this, and have committed to become a pie master by fall. tarts, fruit pies, savory pies, quiche, etc are all in my near future. i will work with the ratio as well to see if i can get to the point to do some cool lattice work on the top. once in a while you will see a recipe that calls for blind baking, which is a process of partially pre-cooking the dough. you have to use a weight of some sort to keep the dough from buckling in the cooking process. beans used only for that use are a cheap, and easy solution. as summer continues and fall approaches get thinking about pie. its the quintessential American dessert.